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THE 



HISTORY 



OF 



THE DECLINE AND FALL 



OF THE 



ROMAN EMPIRE. 



BY 

EDWARD GIBBON, ESQ. 

WITH NOTES, 
BY THE KEY. H. H. MILMAN, 

PBEBENDAUY OF ST. PKTKU'S, AND UECTOIl OF ST. M AKGAKET'S, WESTM1JS'STEB» 

A NEW EDITION, 

TO WHICH IS ADDED 

A COMPLETE INDEX OF THE WHOLE WORK. 

IN FIVE VOLUMES. 
VOL. III. 



rillLADELnilA : 
PORTER & COATES, 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 



http://archive.org/details/historyofdecline53gibb 



i 



CONTENTS OF THE THIRD VOLUME. 



CHAPTER XXXr. 

INVASION OF ITALY BY ALARIC. — MANXKRS OF THE ROMAN SENATE AND 
PEOl^LE. — ROME IS THRIOE IJESIEGKD, AND AT LENtiTH PILLAGED HY THE 
GOTHS— DEATH OF ALARIO.— THE GOTHS EVACUATE ITAL\ .— FALL OF CON- 
STANTINE — GAUL AND SPAIN ARE OCCUPIED BY TiiE BARBARIANS,— INDE- 
PENDENCE OF BRITAIN. 

A. D. PAGE. 

408. Weakness of the Court of Ravenna H 

A laric marches to Home 1^ 

Hannibal at tiie dates of Rome 1-4 

Genealogy of the Senators 16 

The A nician Family 16 

Wealth of the Roman Nobles 18 

Their Manners 20 

Character of the Roman Nobles, by Ammianus MarcellinuB 2i 

State and Character of the People of Rome 28 

Public Distribution <jf Bread, Bacon, Oil, Wine, &c 29 

Use of ilie public Baths 30 

Games and Sped acles 81 

Populousness of Rome 82 

408. First Siege of Rome by the Goths 35 

Famine. » 36 

Plague f 86 

Superstiti<in 37 

409. Aiaric accepts a Ransom, and raises the Siege 88 

Fruitless Negotiations for Peace 40 

Change and Succession of Ministers , 40 

409. Second Siege of Rome by the Goths 43 

Attains is created Emperor by the Goths and Romans , 44 

410. He IS degraded by Aiaric 46 

Third Siege and Sack of Rome by the Goths 47 

Respect of the Goths for the Christian Religion 48 

Pillage and Fire ot Rome ,, 52 

Captives and Fugitives , 52 

Sack ot Rome by ihe Troops of Charles V , 55 

410 Aiaiic evacuates Rome, and ravages Italy 56 

408— 4'2 Possession of Italv by the Goths 57 

410. Death of Aiaric ' 58 

412. Adoiphus, King of the Goths, concludes a Peace with the Empire, and 

marches into Gaul 59 

414. His Marriaw with Placidia , 60 

The Go' hie Treasures , , 62 

410—417, Laws tor the Relief of Italy and Rome ,..,..,..., 63 

413. Revolt and Defeat of Heraclian. Count of Africa t^.y•'••| 64 

409—413. Revolutions of Gaul and Spain ,....., 65 

Character and Victories of the General Constantius 67 

411 Death of the Usurper Constantine , 68 

411—416. Fall of i.lie LTsurpers, Jovinus, Sebastian and Attains 69 

409. Invasion of Spain by the Sueva, Vandals, Alanl. &c 71 

414. Adoiphus, King of the Goths, marches into Spain 73 

(1) 



*A CONTENTS. 

A- D. PAGE. 

415. His Death 73 

415— 41s. The Goths conquer aufl restore Spain 74 

419. Their Establi.shment in Aquitain 75 

The Burgundians 76 

420, &c. State of the Barbarians in Gaul 77 

409. Revolt of Britain and Armorica 78 

409 — 449. State uf Britain 79 

418. Assembly of the Seven Provinces of Gaul 82 



CHAPTER XXXII. 

ARCADIUS EMPEROR OF THE EAST. — ADMINISTRATION AND DISGRACE OP 
EUTROPIUS.— REVOLT OF GAINAS.— PERSECUTiOX OF ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM. 
THEODOSIUS II. EMPEROR OF THE EAST. — HJS SISTER PI LCHERIA. — HIS 
WIFE EUDOCIA.— THE PERSIAN WAR, AND DIVISION OF ARMENIA. 

395—1453. The Empire of the East 84 

395—408. Reign of Aroadius . 84 

395 — 399. Administration and Character of Eutropius .' 86 

His Venality and Injustice 88 

Ruin of Abandantius ^9 

Destructio)! of Timasius 89 

o97. A cruel and unjust Law of Treason 89 

399. Rebellion of Tribigild * . 92 

Fall of Eutropius 95 

400. Conspiracy and Fall of Gainas 96 

398. Election and Merit of St. John Chrysostom 100 

398 — 103. His Administration and Defects 101 

403. Chrysostom is persecuted hy tlie Empress Eudoxia 104 

Popular Tumults at Constantinople 104 

404. Exile of Chrysostom I05 

407. His Death 106 

438. His Relics transported to Constantinople 107 

408. Death of Arcadiufe 108 

His supposed Testament 108 

408 — 415. Administration of A nthemins 109 

414 — 453. Character and Administration of Pulcheria 110 

Education and Character of Theodosius the Younger Ill 

421—460. Character and Adventures of the Empress Eudocia 114 

422. The Persian "War 116 

431—440. Armenia divided between the Persians and the Romans 118 



CHAPTER XXXIII. 

DEATH OF HONORIUS.— VALENTINIAN III. EMPEROR OF THE WEST.-ADMINIS- 
TRATTON OF HIS MOTHER PLACIDIA. — AETIL S AND BONIFACE. — CONQUEST 
OF AFRICA BY THE VANDALS. 

423. Last Years and Death of Honorius 121 

423—425. Elevation and Fall of the Usurper John 122 

425—455. Valentinian TIL Emperor of the West \Z\ 

425—4.50. Administration of his Mother Placidia 325 

Her two Generals, Aetius and Boniface... i25 

427. Error and Revolt of Boniface in Africa 126 

428. He invites the Vandals 127 

Genseric King of the Vandals 127 

429. He lands in Africa 1^^ 

Reviews his Army 12° 

Tlie Moors 129 

The Donatists 129 

430. Tardv Repentance of Boniface l^l 

Desolation of Afiica 1^2 

430. Siege of Hippo 133 

430. Death of St. Avigustin 133 



CONTENTS.. 3 

A. D. PAGE. 

431. Defeat and Retreat of Boniface • 134 

432. His Death .-.135 

431 — 139. Progress of the Vandals in Africa 135 

439. They surpriLje Carthage 13G 

At'riciiii i-xilcti and L aptives 137 

t'ubie ut Llie Seven Sleepers 139 



CHAPTEPw XXXIV. 

THE CHAKACTEU, CONQUESTS, AND COURT OP ATTILA, KINO OF THE HUXS.— 
DEATH OJb' THKODOSIUS THE YOUNGEU. — JiLEVATION Of MARCIAN TO THE 
EMi'lltE OF THJi EAST. 

376—433. The Huns 142 

Their liistiiblishiiient iu modetU Hungary 142 

433—453. Ueign of Altila 144 

His Figure and Cliaracter 144 

He discovers tJie S\vor<l of Mars 146 

Acquires the Empire of Scy thia and Germany 146 

430—440. The Huns invade Persia 147 

44l, &c. They at iacli tlio Eastern Empire 150 

Ravage Europe nn far as Constantinople 151 

The Scy thiad or Tartar Wars 151 

State of tlic Captives.. 151 

446. Treaty of Peace between Attila and the Eastern Empire 156 

Spirit oi the Azimuntiues 156 

EuibassieS from Attila to Constantinople 159 

448. Tlie Embassy of Maximin to Attila 101 

Tbe royal N'illage and I'alace 164 

The Belmvior of Attila to the Roman Ambassadors 165 

The royal Feast 166 

Conspiracy of the Romans against the Life of Attila 169 

He reprimands and forgives the Emperor 170 

450. Theodosius the Vounger dies.. 171 

Is succeeded by Marcian 172 



CHAPTER XXXV. 

INVASION OF GAUL BY ATTILA. — HE IS REPULSED BY AETIUS AND THE VISI- 
GOTHS-— ATI I LA INVADES AND EVACUATES ITALY. — THE DEATHS OF AT- 
TILA, AETIUS, AND VALENTINIAN III. 

450. Attila threatens both Empires, and prepares to invade Gaul 173 

435—454. Character and Administration of Aetius 174 

His Connection with the Huns and Alani 1.6 

4]9_45l. The Visigoths in Gaul under the Reign of Theodoric 177 

435—439. The Goths besiege Narbonne, &c 178 

420—451. The Franks in Gaul under the IMerovingian Kings 180 

The Adventures of the Princess Honoria 183 

451. Attila invades Gaul, and besieges Orleans 1^5 

Alliance of the Romans and Visigoths 187 

Attila retires to the Plains of Champagne 189 

Battle of ChSlons 1^1 

Retreat of Attila 192 

452. Invasion of Italy by Attila 194 

Foundation of the Rejniblic of Venice 196 

Attila gives Peace to the Romans 199 

453. The Death of Attila 202 

Destruction of his Empire 202 

454. Vfilentinian murders the Patrician Aetius 204 

Valentinian ravishes the Wife of Maximus 206 

455. Death of Valentinia)i 206 

Symptoms of the Decay and Ruin of the Roma" Government 207 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER XXXVL 

SACK OF ROME P.V GKNSERIC, KING OF THE VANDALS.— HIS NAVAL DEPRE5- 
DATIONS.— SUCCESSION OF THE LAST EMPERORS OF THE WEST, MAXIMIS, 
AVinS, -MAJOKIAX, SEVERIS, ANTHEMIUS, OLYBKIUS, GLVCERIUS, NKPOS, 
AUGUSTULTS.— TOTAL EXTINCTION OF THE WESTERN EJUPIRE.— REIGN OF 
ODOACER, THE FIRST BARBARIAN KING OF ITALi'. 

A. D. PAGE. 

439—445. Naval Power of the Vandals 209 

455. The Character and Keign of the Emperor Maximus 210 

455. His Death 211 

455. Sack of Rome by the Vandals 213 

The Emperor Avitus 215 

450 — 46C. Character of Theodoric, King of the Visigoths •. 21G 

456. His Expedition into Spain 219 

456. Avitus is deposed 220 

457. Character and Elevation of Majorian 222 

457—161. His Salutary Laws .,.,, 224 

The Edifices of Rome 227 

457. ^Majorian prepares to invade Africa. . . , 228 

The Loss of his Fleet ,, 231 

461. His Death .... 231 

461 — 407. Kicitner reigns under the Name of Severus 232 

Revolt of Marcellinus in Dalniatia , , 232 

Kevolt of .Ej^idius in Gaul 233 

461—467. Naval War of the Vandals 234 

462. &c. Negotiations with the Eastern Empire 235 

457 — 174. Leo, Emperor ot thi; East..,, 236 

467 — 172. Antheniius. En\[)eror of the West 237 

The Festival of the Lupercalia 240 

468, Preparations against the Vandals of Africa , . . 241 

Failure of the Expediiion ". 243 

462 — 172. Conquests of the Visigoths in Spain and Gaul 245 

4(;s. Trial of Arvandus 246 

471. Discord of Antheinius and Ricimer , . , , 249 

472. Olybrius. Emperor of the West , ,,.,...., ,,,... 251 

472. Sack of Rome, and Death of Anthemius , 251 

Death of Ricimer 252 

DeatJi of Olybrius ' 252 

472 — 175. Julius Nepos and Glycerius, Emperors of the West 253 

475. The Patrician Orestes 254 

476. His Sou Augustulus, the last Emperor of the West 255 

476—490, Odoacer, King of Italy , , .255 

476 or 479, Extiijctjon of the Western Empire , 258 

Augustulus is banished to the Lucullan Villa , 259 

Decay of the Roman Spirit 260 

476 — 490. Character and Reign of Odoacer , , , , . , 261 

]Miserable State of Italy , , , , , , 268 



CHAPTER XXXVII. 

ORIGIN, PROGRES.S, AND EFFECTS OF THE MONASTIC LIFE. — CONVERSION OP 
THE BAi'.BARIANS TO CHRISTIANITY AND ARIANISM. — PERSECUTION OF THE 
VANDALS IN AFRICA.— EXTINCTION OF ARIANISM AMONG THE BARBARIANS. 

I. Institution of the Monastic Life , 264 

Origin of the Monks , , 264 

305. Antony, and ihe Monks of Egypt . 266 

341. Propagation of the Monastic Life at Rome 267 

321. Hilarion in Palestine 267 

360. Basil in Pontns 268 

37.>. MartininGaul 268 

Causes of the rapid Progress of the Monastic Life 269 

Obedience of the Monks 271 



CONTENTS. 5 

A. D. PAOK. 

Tlieir Dress and Habitations 272 

Their Diet ■ 27;i 

Tlieir niaiiual Labor 275 

Tlieir Kielies 275 

Their Solitude 276 

Their Devotion and Visions 277 

The Crpiiobites and Ana<!liorets 278 

395 — 451, Simeon Stylites 27!) 

Miracles and Worship of the Monks 2K0 

Superstition of the Age 2Sl 

II. CONVKKSION OF IHK BaRHAUIANS 281 

360, &c. Ulphilas. Apostle of the Goths 2^2 

400, &<". The Goths, A'aiidals, Burgundians, &c., embrace Christianity 2S3 

Motives of Iheir Faith 2S4 

Ell'eeta of their Conversion 2^>5 

They are involved in the Arian HereBy 2K7 

General Toleration 2S8 

Arian Persecution of the Vandals 2S8 

429 — 477. (ienseric 289 

477. Hunnerit; 289 

484. Gundainund 2^9 

4%. Tlnasimund 2K!> 

52.'}. Hilderic 200 

530. Gelinier 2!)0 

A general View of the Persecution in Africa 2!tO 

Catholic Frauds 2!t5 

Miracles 297 

500—700. The Kiiin of Aiianism among tlie Barbarians 2!t8 

577 — 584. Kevolt ;ind IMarlyrdom of Ih^ineniigihl in Spain LOS 

580 — 5S9. Conversion of K('<ared and the Visigorlis of Spain 209 

COO, &c. Conversion ol the Lonilianls of Italy ;;01 

612 — 712. Persecution of the Jews in Spain ,'502 

Conclusion 302 



CHAPTER XXXVIII. 

REIGX AXD COXVKRSIOX OF CLOVIS. — HIS VICTORIES OVER THE ALEMAXXI, 
BIIRC.UXDIAXS, AND VISI(;()THS. — ICSTA nLI.SHMENT OK THE FRENCH Mr)N- 
ARCHV IN (iAlL. — LAWS OF Tin': BARBARIANS.— SPATE OF THE ROMAN.S. — 
THE VI.S1GOTHS OF SPAIN.— CONyUEST OF BRITAIN BY TilE SAXONS. 

The Revolution of Gaul .304 

476 — 485. Enric, King of the Visigoths .'^05 

481—511. Clovis. King of the Franks 30(5 

480. His Victory over Syagrius 3('8 

49G. Defeat and Submission of the Alemanni .')09 

490. Conversion of Clovis .'^11 

497, &c. Submission of the Armoricans and the Roman Tioops .'51.'? 

499. The Burtrundian War :;I4 

500. Victory of Clovis .".IG 

532. Final Conquest of Burgundy by the Franks 316 

507. The Gothic War 318 

Victory of Clovis 31!) 

508. Conquest of Aquitain by the Franks 321 

510, Consulship of Clovis 3-2 

530. Final Kstablisliment of the French Monarchy in Gaul. 32.> 

Political (Jontioversy 325 

Laws of the Barbarians .'526 

Pecuniary Fines for Homicide 328 

Judgments of God ^VM) 

Judicial Combats 3.]0 

Division of L.-iiid by the Barbarians 331 

Domain and Benefices of the Merovingians 333 

Private Usurpations 3.'J5 

Personal Servitude 336 

Example of Auvergne 3oT 



6 CONTENTS. 

A. D. PAGE. 

Story of Attalu3 340 

Privileges of tlie Romans in Gaul 341 

Anarchy of the Franks 343 

The Visigotlis of Spain 345 

Legislative Assemblies of Spain 345 

Code of the Visigoths , 347 

Revolution of Britain ,347 

419. Descent of th^ Saxons 348 

455_r)j(2. E.stabli.--hment of the Saxon Heptarchy 350 

State of the Britons 351 

Their Resistance 352 

Their Flight 352 

The Fam-i of Arthur 351 

Desolation of Britain 356 

Servitude of the Britons 357 

Manners of the Britons 35!) 

Obscure or fabulous Stale of Britain 3(i0 

Fall of the Roman Empire iu the West 302 

General Omseuvatioxs os uhe Fall, of the Roman Empiiie in the 
West. 



CHAPTER XXXIX. 

ZEND AND ANASTASrUS, EMPERORS OF TFIE EAST. — BIRTH, EDUCATION, AND 
FIRST EXPLOITS OF THEODOKIC THE OSTROGOTH. — HIS INVASION AND CON- 
QUEST OF ITALV.— THE GOTHIC KINGDOM OF ITALY.— STATE OF THE WEST. 
— MILirARY AND CIVIL GOVERNMENT. — THE SENATOR BOETHIUS. — LAST 
ACTS AND DEATH OF THEODORIC. 

455—475. Birth and Education of Theodoric 374 

474—491. The Reign of Zeno 376 

491—518. The Reign of Anastasius 377 

475 — 488. Service and Pevolt of Theodoric 378 

489. He undertakes the Conquest of Italy 379 

His March 381 

489. 490. The three Defeats of Odoacer 381 

493. His Capitulation and Death 383 

491-526. Reign of Theodoric, King of Italy 384 

Partition of Lands 384 

Separation of the Goths and Italians 385 

Foreign Policy of Theodoric 386 

His Defensive Wars 389 

509. His Naval Armaments 3.^9 

Civil Government of Italy according to the Roman Laws 389 

Prosperitv of Rome 303 

500. Visit of Theodoric 393 

Flourishing State of Italy 395 

Theodoric an Arian 397 

His Toleration of the Catholics 397 

Vices of his Government 398 

He is provoked to persecute the Catholics 399 

Character, Studies, and Honors of Boethius 401 

His Patriotism 402 

He is accused of Treason 404 

524. His Imprisonment and Death 404 

525. Death of Symmachus 406 

526. Remorse and Death of Theodoric 406 



CHAPTER XL. 

ELEVATION OF JUSTIN THE ELDER. —REIGN OF JUSTINIAN: I. THE EMPRESS 
THEODORA.— II. FACTIONS OF THE CIRCUS, AND SEDITION OF CONSTANTI- 
NOPLE. — III. TRADE AND MANUFACTURE OF SILK. — IV. FINANCES AND 
TAXES. — V. EDIFICES OF J USTINIAN,— CHURCH OF ST. 80PHIA.— FORTIFICA- 



CONTENTS. 7 

TTONS AND FRONTIERS OF THE EASTERN EMPIRE.— VI. ABOLITION OF THB 
SCHOOLS OF ATHENS, AND THE CONSULSHU" OF ROME. 

A. D. PAGE. 

482 or 483. Birth of the Emperor Justinian 409 

518—527. Elevation and Heign of Ills Uncle Justin 1 410 

520—527. Adoption and Succession of Justinian 4H 

527 — 5G5. The Keigii of Justinian 4];j 

Character and Histories of Proopius 413 

Division of the Keign of Justinian 415 

Birth and Vices of tlie Empress Theodora 41G 

Her Marriage with Justinian 418 

Her Tyranny 420 

Her Virtues 421 

548. AndDeath 422 

The Factions of the'Circus 422 

At Korne 42.J 

They distract Constantinople and the East 424 

JustiniaJi favors tlie Blues 424 

532. Sedition of Constantinople, surnamed Hilca 42G 

The Distress of J ustinian 428 

Firmness of Theodora 410 

The Sedition is suppressed 429 

Agriculture and ^Manufactures of the Eastern Empire 4.'S0 

The Use of Silk hy the Komaiis. 4.32 

Importation from Chiiia by Land and Sea 433 

Introduction of Silk-worms into Greece 437 

State of the K-n^enue 4."8 

Avarice and Profusion of Justinian 4 39 

Pernicious Savings 441 

Kemittances 441 

Taxes 442 

Monopolies 442 

Venality 443 

Testaments 443 

The Ministers of Justinian 444 

John of Cappadocia 445 

His Edifices and Architects 447 

Foundation of the Church of St. Sophia 449 

Descri ption 450 

Marbles 452 

Kiches 452 

Churches and Palaces 453 

Fortifications of Europe 454 

Security of Asia after the Conquest of Isauria 457 

Fortifications of the Empire, from the Euxine to the Persian Frontier 459 

488. Death of Perozes, King of Persia 4(52 

602—505. The Persian War 462 

Fortifications of Dara 4^3 

The Caspian or I berian Gates 4G4 

The Schools of Athens 466 

They are suppressed by Justinian 470 

Procl\is 470 

485—520. His Successors 470 

The last of the Philosophers 471 

641. The Koman Consulship extinguished by Justinian 472 



CHAPTER XLI. 

CONQUESTS OF JUSTINIAN IN THE WEST.— CHARACTER AND FIRST CAMPAIGNS 
OF BELISARIUS. — HE INVADES AND SUBDUES THE VANDAL KINGDO.M OF 
AFRICA.— HLS TRIUMPH.- THE GOTHIC AVAR.— HE RECOVERS SICILV, NAPLES, 
AND ROiME.— SIEGE OF R03IE BV THE GOTHS.— THEIR RE'IREAT AND LOSSES. 
— SURRENDER OF RAVENNA. — GLORY OF BELISARIUS. — HIS .DOMESTIC 
SHAME AND MISFORTUNES. 

533. Justinian resolves to invade Africa 474 

523—530. State of the Vandals. Hilderic 475 

630—534. Gelimer 475 



8 CONTENTS. 

A. D. PAGTC. 

Debates on the Africa.) War , 4i6 

Character and Choice of Belisariiia h77 

529—5:32. His Services in tlie Persian AVar 478 

533. Preparations for the African War 479 

Departure ot the Fleet 4fSl 

Belisarius lands on the Coast of Africa 464 

Defeats the V^andals in a hrst Battle 4^0 

Reduction of Carthage 4n7 

Final Defeat of Gelinver and the Vandals 490 

534. Conquest of Africa hy Belisarius 403 

Distre-s and Captivity of Gelimer 4!'5 

Return and Triumph of Belisarius 497 

535- HivS s )le C<nis Isliip 499 

End of Gelinier and the Vandals 499 

Manners and Deleat of the Mooi'S 501 

Neutrality of the \'isigoths 503 

550 — 620. Conquests of the Romans in Spain 504 

534. Belisarius threatens the Ostrogoths of Italy 504 

522—534. (loverinnent and Exile of Anialasontha, Queen of Italy 505 

535. Her Death 508 

Belisarius invades and subdues Sicily 509 

534 — 53(;. Reign and Weakness of Theodatus, the Gothic King of Jtaly 510 

537. Belisarius invades Italy, and reduces Naples 512 

• 536—510, Vitiges, King of Italy 515 

5.36. Belisarius enters Roue 516 

537. Siege of Rome by tJie Goths 517 

Valor of Belisarius 518 

His Defence of Rome 518 

Repulses a general Assault of the Goths .521 

His Sallies 522 

Distress of the City 523 

Exile of Pope Syl verius 525 

Deliverance of the City ,526 

Belisarius recovers many Cities of Italy 528 

538. The Goths raise the Siege of Rome 528 

Lose Rimini . . ,530 

Retire to Ravenna .530 

Jealousy of the Roman Generals 530 

Death of Constantine ,531 

The Eunuch Narses 531 

Firmness and Authority of Belisarius. ,. 532 

538. 539. Invasion of 1 taly by the Franks , .532 

Destruction of Milan .532 

Belisarius be.^^ieges Ravenna 534 

539. Subdues the Gotliic Kingdom of Italy .536 

Captivity of Vitiges .'S.37 

540. Return and Glory of Belisarius 537 

Secret History of his Wife Antonina 539 

Her Lover Theolosius 5^0 

Resentment of Belisarius and her Son Photius . 512 

Persecution of her Son . 513 

Disgrace and Submission of Belisarius 544 



CHAPTER XLII. 

STATE OF THE B.VRB.VRTC WORI>n. — KS lABT.T.SHMEXT OF THE LOMBARDS ON" 
THE I>.\NIIBE.— TRIBES AXD IXROAUS OF THE SCLAVONIAXS.— ORIGIN, EM- 
PIRE, AM) EMBASSIES OF THE TURKS— THE FLIGHT OF THE AVARS.— CHOS- 

KOES I.. OR NUSHIRVAV, KING OF I'ERSIA HIS I'ROSPEROCTS REIGV AND 

WARS WITH THE ROMANS. —THE COLCHIAN OR LAZIC WAR. —THE iETHIO- 
PIANS. 

527—565. Weakness of the Empire of Justinian 546 

State of the Barbarians 548 

The Gepida; ,548 

The Lombards 548 

The Sc lavonians '. 550 



CONTENTS. ^ 

A. D. PAGE. 

Their InrOcOds ; 553 

645. Origin and Monarchy of tlie Turks in Asia 555 

The Avars liy before the Turks, and approach the Empire 5.' 9 

658. Their Embassy to Constantinople 559 

509— 5>S2. Enibassi(-s of the Turks and Uoinans 5(;i 

600—5:30. State of I'ersia 5C4 

631—579. Keigu of Nushirvan or Chosroes 5G5 

His Love of Learning 5(17 

533—539. Peace and War with the Komans 571 

640. He invades Syria 572 

And ruins Autioch 573 

64L Defence of the East by Belisarius 575 

Description of Colclios, Lazica, or Mingrelia 577 

Manners of the Natives 580 

Revolutions of Colchos 581 

Under tlie Persians, before Christ 500 581 

Under the Romans, before Christ GO 582 

130. Visit of Arrian 582 

622. Conversion of the Lazi r83 

642—549. Revolt and Repentance of the Colchians 583 

549—551. Siege of Petra 585 

649— 55G. Tlie Colchiaii or Lazic AVar 687 

540— 5G1. >Jeg<>tiation8 and I'reaties between Justinian and Chosrots 589 

622. Conquests of the Abyssinians 591 

633. Their Alliance with Justinian 592 

CHAPTER XLIII. 

REnELLIOXS OF AFRICA.— RESTORATION OF THE GOTHIC KINGDOM BY TOTILA. 
—LOSS AND llECOVEUV OF ROME.— FINAL CONQUEST OF ITALY BYNAKSKS. 
— EXTINCTION OF THE OSTROGOTHS. — DEFEAT OF THE FRANKS AND ALE- 
MANNI. — LAST VICTORY, DISGRACE, AND DEATH OF BELISARIUS. — DEATH 
AND CHARACTER OF JUSTINIAN.— COMETS, EARTHQUAKES, AND PLAGUE. 

535—545. The Troubles of Africa 595 

543—558. Rebellion of the Moors .... 598 

640. Revolt of the Goths GOO 

641_544. Victories of Totila, King of Haly COl 

Contrast of Greek A'ice and Gothic Vfrtue 602 

544—548. Second Command of Belisarius in Italy €04 

54G. Rome besieged by the Goths GCS 

Attempt of Belisarius GOG 

Rome taken by the Goths G()7 

547. Recovered by Belisarius 611 

548. Final Recall of Belisarius 611 

649. Rome again taken by the Goths G14 

549_551. Preparations of justir.ian for the Gothic War C15 

552. Character and Expedition of the Eunuch Narses 617 

Defeat and Death of Totila G19 

Conquest of Rome by Narses 621 

553. Defeat and Death of Teias, the last King of the Goths 623 

Invasion of Italy by the Franks and Alemanni 625 

554. Defeat of the Franks and Alemanni by Narses 626 

554—568. Settlement of Italy 628 

659. Invasion of the Bulgarians 630 

Last Victory of Belisarius 631 

561. His Disgrace and 1 )eath 632 

5G5. Death and Character of Justinian 635 

531-539. Comets 637 

Earthquakes 639 

542. Plague— its Orisjin and "Nature 641 

642—594. Extent and Duration 643 

CHAPTER XLIV. 

IDEA OF THE ROMAN JURISPRUDENCE. — THE LAWS OF THE KINGS. — THE 
TWELVE TABLES OF THE DECEMVIRS. — THE LAWS OF THE PEOPLE. — THE 
DECREES OF THE SENATE.— THE EDICTS OF THE MAGISTRATES AND EMPE- 



10 CONTENTS. 

RORS. —AUTHORITY OF THE CIVILIANS. — CODE, PANDECTS, NOVELS, AND 

INSTITUTES OF JUSTINIAN : I. RIGHTS OF PERSONS II. RIGHTS OF THINGS. 

—III. PRIVATE INJURIES AND ACTIONS.— IV. CRIMES AND PUNISHMENTS. 

A. D. PAGE. 

The Civil or Roman Law G45 

Laws of the Kings of Rome 647 

The Twelve Tables of the Decemvirs G49 

Their Character and Influence 651 

Laws of tlie People 652 

Decrees of the Senate 654 

Edicts of the Praetors 654 

The Perpetual Edict 656 

Constitutions of the Emperors.. 657 

Their Legislative Power 659 

Their Rescrii>ts 660 

Forms of tlie Roman Law 661 

Succession of the Civil Lawyers 662 

303—648. The FiiHt Period 663 

618—988. Second Period 664 

988—1230. Third Period 664 

Their Philosophy 665 

Authority 666 

Sects 668 

527. Reformation of the Roman Law by Justinian 670 

527—546. Tribonian 671 

528, 529. The Code of Justinian 672 

530—533. The Pandects or Digest 673 

Praise and Censure of the Code and Pandects 674 

Loss of the ancient Jurisprudence 676 

Legal Inconstancy of Justinian 678 

534. Second Edition of the Code 678 

534 565. The Novels 679 

533 The Institutes 679 

I. Of Persons. Freemen and Slaves 680 

Fathers and Children 682 

Limitations of the Paternal Authority . 683 

Husbands and Wives 686 

^ The religious Rites of Marriage 686 

Freedom of the matrimonial Contract 686 

Liberty and Abuse of Divorce 687 

Limitations of the Libertv of Divorce 689 

Incest. Concubines, and Bastards 691 

Guardians and Wards 693 

II. Of Things. Right of Property 604 

Of Inheritance and Succession 698 

Civil Degrees of Kindred 698 

Introduction and Liberty of Testaments 700 

Legacies 701 

Codicils and Trusts 702 

III. Op Actions 703 

Promises 703 

Benefits 704 

Interest of Money 705 

Injuries 706 

IV. Of Crimes and Punishments 708 

Severity of the Twelve Tables .. 708 

Abolition or Oblivion of Penal Laws 710 

Revival of Capital Punishments 712 

Measure of Guilt 713 

Unnatural Vice 714 

Rigor of the Christian Emperors 715 

Judgments of the People 716 

Select Judges 717 

Assessors 718 

Voluntary Exile and Death 718 

Abuses of Civil Jurisprudence 720 



THE HISTORY 



OF 



THE DECLINE AND FALL 



OF THE 



ROMAN EMPIRE. 



CHAPTER XXXI. 

IXYASION OF ITALY BY ALARIC. MAXXERS OF THE ROMAN" 

SENATE AND PEOPLE. ROME IS THRICE BESIEGED, AND AT 

LENGTH PILLAGED, BY THE GOTHS- DEATH OF ALARIC. 

THE GOTHS EVACUATE ITALY. FALL OF CONSTANTINE. 

GAUL AND SPAIN ARE OCCUPIED BY THE BARBARIANS. 

INDEPENDENCE OF BRITAIN. 

The incapacity of a weak and distracted government 
may often assume the appearance, and produce the effects, 
of a treasonable correspondence with tlie public enemy. If 
Alaric himself had been introduced into tlie council of 
Kavenna, lie would probably have advised the same meas- 
ures which were actually pursued by the ministers of Hon- 
orius.^ The king of the Goths would have conspired, per- 
haps with some reluctance, to destroy the formidable adver- 
sary, by whose arms, in Italy, as well as in Greece, he had 
been twice overthrown. T/ieii* nctive and interested hatred 
laboriously accomplished the disgrace and ruin of the great 
Stilicho. The valor of Sarus, his fame in arms, and his 
personal, or hereditary, influence over the confederate Barba- 
rians, could recommend him only to the friends of their 
country, who despised, or detested, the worthless characters 
of Turpilio, Varanes, and Vigilantius. By the pressing in- 
stances of the new favorites, these generals, unworthy as 

1 The series of events, from the death of Stilicho to the arrival of Alaric be- 
fore Ivonie, call only be found in Zosinius, 1. v. pp. 347-350. 

(11) 



12 THE DfECLI^E AND FALL 

they had shown themselves of the names of soldiers,^ were 
promoted to the command of the cavalry, of the infantry, 
and of the domestic troops. The Gothic prince woidd have 
subscribed with pleasure the edict which the fanaticism of 
Olympius dictated to the simple and devout emperor. Hon- 
orius excluded all persons, who were adverse to the Catholic 
church, from holding any office in the state ; obstinately re- 
jected the seiwice of all thos-e who dissented frcm his re- 
ligion ; and rashly disqualified many of liis bravest and most 
skilful officers, who adhered to the Pfigan worship, or who 
had imbibed the opinions of Arianism.^ These measures, so 
advantageous to an enemy, Alaric would have approved, 
and might perhaps liave suggested ; but it may set m doubt- 
ful, whetlier the Barbarian would have promoted his interest 
at the expense of the inhuman and absurd cruelly, which 
was perpetrated by the direction, or at least with the con- 
nivance, of the Ini])erJal ministers. The foreign auxiliaries, 
Avho had been attached to the ])erson of Stilicho, Irmented 
his death; but the desire of revenge was checked by a 
natural apprehension for the safety of their wives and cliil- 
dren ; who were detained as hostages in tlie strong cities of 
Italy, where they had likewise deijosited tlieir most valuable 
effects. At the same hour, and as if by a con men signal, 
the cities of Italy were })oll^tcd by the same horrid scenes 
of universal massacre and pillage, which involved, in pro- 
miscuous destruction, the families and fortunes of the Bar- 
barians. Exasperated by such an injury, which miglit have 
awakened the tamest and most servile spirit, they cast a 
look of indignation and hope towards the camp of Alaric, 
and nnanimously swore to pursue, with just and imjjlacable 
war, the perfidious nation, tliat had so basely violated the 
laws of hospitality. By the imprudent conduct of the min- 
isters of Plonorius, the republic lost the assistance, and de- 
served the enmity, of thirty thousand of her bravest soldiers ; 
and the weight of that formidable army, which alone might 
have determined the event of the war, was transferred from 
the scale of tlie RoTuans into that of the Goths. 

In the arts of negotiation, as well as in those of war, the 
Gothic king maintained his superior ascendant over an 

2 Tlie expression of ZoPimns is strorrg aiift liveJj^ KaTa(j)p6vriaiv eiu.iroiTi«rcu toZs 
iroAcrjtot? apKovi'Tat;. sufficient to excite the contempt of the eneniy^ 

2 Eos qui catholioje sectfe sunt inimioi> intra palatium luilitare prohibemus. 
Knllus nobis sit aliqua ratione vonjunctus, qui a nobis Ude et religione discordat. 
Cod. Theodos. 1. xvi. tit. v. leg. 42^ and Godefroy's Commentary, torn. vi. p. 1C4. 
This law was applied iu the utmost latitude^ and rigorously executed. Zobimna 
L V. p. 364. 



OF TUE ROMAN EMPIRE. 13 

enemy, whose se<3ming changes proceeded from the total want 
of counsel and design- From his camp, on the confines of 
Italy, Alaric attentively observed the revolutions of the 
palace, watched the pi-ogress of faction and discontent, dis- 
guised tlie hostile aspect of a Barbarian invader, and assumed 
the more popular appearance of the friend and ally of the 
great Stilicho ; to whose virtues, when they were no longer 
formidable, he eould pay a just tribute of sincere praise and 
regret. The pressing invitation of the malcontents, who 
urged the king of the Goths to invade Italy, was enforced 
by a lively sense of Iiis personal injuries; and he might 
speciously complain, that the Imperial ministers still delayed 
and eluded the payment of the four thousand }K)unds of 
gold, which had been granted by the Roman senate, either 
to reward his services, or to appease his fury. His decent 
firmness was supported by an artful moderation, whicli con- 
tributed to the success of his designs. He required a fair 
and reasonable satisfaction ; but he gave the strongest as- 
surances, that, as soon as he had obtained it, he would im- 
mediately retire. He refused to trust the faith of the Ro- 
mans, unless Aetius and Jason, the sons of two great officers 
of state, were sent as hostages to his camp ; but he offered 
to deliver, in exchange, several of the noblest youths of the 
Gothic nation. The modesty of Alaric was interpreted, by 
the ministers of Ravenna, as a sure evidence of liis weakness 
and fear. They disdained either to negotiate a treaty, or 
to assemble an army ; and with a rash confidence, derived 
only from their ignorance of the extreme danger, irretrievably 
wasted the decisive moments of ]3eace and war. While they 
expected, in sullen silence, that the Barbarians should evac- 
uate the confines of Ital}-, Alaric, with bold and rapid 
marches, passed the Alps and the Po ; hastily pillaged the 
cities of Aquileia, Altinum, Concordia, and Cremona, which 
yielded to his arms ; increased his forces by the accession 
of thirty thousand auxiliaries ; and, without meeting a single 
enemy in the field, advanced as far as the edge of the 
morass which protected the impregnable residence of the 
emperor of the West. Instead of attempting the hopeless 
siege of Ravenna, the prudent leader of the Goths proceeded 
to Rimini, stretched his ravages along the sea-coast of the 
Hadriatic, and meditated the conquest, of the ancient mis- 
tress of the world. An Italian hermit, whose zeal and 
sanctity were respected by the Barbarians tliemselves, en- 
countered the victorious monarch, and boldly denounced 



14 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

the indignation of Heaven against the oppressors of the 
earth ; but the saint himself was confounded by the solemn 
asseveration of Alaric, that he felt a secret and praeter- 
natural impulse, Avhich directed, and even compelled, his 
march to the gates of Rome. He felt, that his genius and 
his fortune were equal to the most arduous enterprises ; and 
the enthusiasm which he communicated to the Goths, in- 
sensibly removed the popular, and almost superstitious, 
reverence of the nations for the majesty of the Roman 
name. His troops, animated by the hopes of spoil, followed 
the course of the Flaminian way, occupied the unguarded 
passes of the Apennine,'* descended into the rich plains of 
Umbria ; and, as they lay encamped on the banks of the 
Clitumnus, might Avantonly slaughter and devour the milk- 
white oxen, which had been so long reserved for the use of 
Roman triumphs.^ A lofty situation, and a seasonable tem- 
]^est of thunder and lightning, preserved the little city of 
Narni ; but the king of the Goths, despising the ignoble 
prey, still advanced with unabated vigor ; and after he had 
passed through the stately arches, adorned with the spoils 
of Barbaric victories, he pitched his camp under the walls 
of Rome.^ 

During a period of six hundred and nineteen years, the 
seat of empire had never been violated by the presence of a 
foreign enemy. The unsuccessful expedition of Hannibal "^ 
served only to display the character of the senate and peo- 
ple ; of a senate degraded, rather than ennobled, by the 
comparison of an assembly of kings ; and of a people, to 
whom the ambassador of Pyrrhus ascribed the inexhaustible 
resources of the Hydra.^ Each of the senators, in the time 
of the Punic war, had accomplished his term of military 

* Addison (see his Works, vol. ii. p. 54, edit. Baskerville) has given a very pic- 
turesque description of the road through the Apennine. The Goths were not at 
leisure to observe the beauties of the prospect ; but they were pleased to find that 
the Saxa Intercisa, a narrow passage which Vespasian liad cut through the rock 
(Cluver. Italia Antiq. torn. i. p. 018), was totally neglected. 

5 Hinc albi, Clitumne, greges, et maxima taurus 

Victima, srepe tuo perfusi tlumir.e sacro, 
Romaiios ad tenipla Deum duxere triumphos.— Georg, ii. 147. 
Besides Virgil, most of the Latin poets, Propertius, Lucan, Silius Italicus 
Claudian, &c., whose T->assages may be found in Cluverius and Addison, have 
celei)rated the triumphal A-ictims of the Clitumnus. 

<> Some ideas of the march of Alaric are borrowed from the journey of Hono- 
rius over the same ground. (See Claudian in vi. Cons. Hon. 404-522). The meas- 
ured distance between Ravenna and Home was 254 Roman miles. Itinerar. 
Wesselin<i, p. 126. 

7 The marcli and retreat of Hannibal are described by Livy, 1. xxvi. c. 7, 8, 9, 
10, 11 ; and the reader is made a spectator of the interesting scene. 

8 These comparisons were used by Cyneas, the counsellor of Pyrrhus, after his 
return from his embassy, in Avhich he had diligently studied the discipline and 
laanuers of Rome. See Plutarch in Pyrrho, som. ii. p. 459. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 15 

service, either in a subordinate or a superior station ; and the 
decree, wliich invested with temporary command all those 
who liad been consuls, or censors, or dictators, gave the re- 
public the immediate assistance of many brave and experi- 
enced generals. In the beginning of the war, the Roman peo- 
ple consisted of two hundred and fifty thousand citizens of 
an age to bear arms.^ Fifty thousand had already died in the 
defence of their country ; and the twenty-three legions which 
were employed in the different camps of Italy, Greece, Sar- 
dinia, Sicily, and Spain, required about one hundred thou- 
sand men. But there still remained an equal number in 
Rome, and the adjacent territory, who were animated by 
the same intrepid courage; and every citizen was trained, 
from his earliest youth, in the discipline and exercises of a 
soldier. Hannibal was astonished by the constancy of the 
the senate, who, without raising the siege of Capua, or re- 
calling their scattered forces, expected his approach. He 
encamped on the banks of the Anio, at the distance of three 
miles from the city ; and he was soon informed, that the 
ground on which he had pitched his tent, was sold for an 
adequate price at a public auction ; * and that a body of 
troops was dismissed by an opposite road to reenforce the 
legions of Spain.^*^ He led his Africans to the gates of 
Rome, where he found three armies in order of battle, pre- 
pared to receive him. But Hannibal dreaded the event of 
a combat, from which he could not hope to escape, unless he 
destroyed the last of his enemies ; and his speedy retreat 
confessed the invincible courage of the Romans. 

From the time of the Punic war, the uninterrupted suc- 
cession of senators had preserved the name and image of 
tlje republic ; and the degenerate subjects of Honorius am- 
bitiously derived their descent from the heroes Avho had 

^ In the three census which were made of the Roman people, about the time 
of the second Puni(; war, the numbers stand as follows (see Livy, Epitom. 1. xx. 
Hist. 1. xxvii. 3H, xxix. 37) : 270,213, 137,108, 214,000. The fall of the second, and 
the rise of the third, appears so enormous, that several critics, notwithstanding 
the unanimity of the MSS., have suspected some corruption of the text of Livy. 
(See Drakenborcli ad xxvii. 30, and Beaufort, Republique Romaine, torn. i. p. 
325). They did not consider that tlie second renstis was taken only at Rome, and 
that the numbers were diminislied, not only by the death, but likewise by the 
absence, of many soldiers. In the third census, Livy expressly afRrms, that the 
lesions were mustered by the care of particular commissaiies. From the num- 
bers on the list we must always deduct one-twelfth above threescore, and inca- 
pable of bearing arms. See Population de la France, p. 72. 

1" Livy considers these two incidents as the effects only of chance and courage. 
I suspect that they were both managed by the admirable policy of the .senate. 

* Compare the remarkable transaction in Jeremiah xxxii. G, to 44, where the 
prophet purchases his uncle's estate at the approach of the Babylonian captivity, 
in his undoubting confidence in the future restoration of the people. In the one 
case it is the triumph of religious faith, in the other of national pride. — M, 



16 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

repulsed the arms of Hannibal, and subdued the nations of 
the earth. The temporal honors which the devout Pauhi^^ 
inherited and despised, are carefully recapitulated by Jerom, 
the guide of her conscience, and the historian of her life. 
The genealogy of her father, liogatus, which ascended as 
high as Agamemnon, miglit seem to betray a Grecian origin ; 
but her mother, Blaesilla, numbered the Scipios, ^miliiis 
Paulus, and the Gracchi, in the list of her ancestors ; and 
Toxotius, the husband of Paula, deduced his royal lineage 
from ^neas, the father of tlie Julian line. The vanity of 
the rich, who desired to be noble, was gratified by these 
lofty pretensions. Encouraged by the applause of their 
parasites, they easily imposed on the credulity of the vul- 
gar; and were countenanced, in some measure, by the cus- 
tom of adopting the name of their patron, whicli had always 
prevailed among the freedmen and clients of illustrious fam- 
ilies. Most of those families, however, attacked by so many 
causes of external violence or internal decay, were gradu- 
ally extirpated : and it would be more reasonable to seek 
for a lineal descent of twenty generations, among the moun- 
tains of the Alps, or in the peaceful solitude of Apulia, than 
on the theatre of Pome, the seat of fortune, of danger, and 
of perpetual revolutions. Under each successive reign, and 
from every province of the empire, a crowd of hardy adven- 
turers, rising to eminence by their talents or their vices, 
usurped the wealth, the honors, and the palaces of Rome ; 
and oppressed, or protected, the poor and humble remains 
of consular families ; who were ignorant, perhaps, of the 
glory of their ancestors.^^ 

In the time of Jerom and Claudian, the senators unani- 
mously yielded the preeminence to tlie Anician line; and a 
slight view of their history will serve to appreciate the rank 
and antiquity of the noble families, which contended only 
for the second jilace." During the five first ages of the city, 

11^ See Jerom, torn. i. pp. 169, 170, ad Eu.stocLium ; he bestows on Paula the 
splendid titles of Gracchorum stirps, soboles Scipionum. Pauli hseres. cujiis 
vocabulum trabit, Martiae Papyiiaj Matris Africani vera et germana pro])ago. 
This particular description supposes a more solid title than tbe eumanie of 
Julius, whicli Toxotius shared with a thousand families of the western provinces. 
See the Index of Tacitus, of Gruters Inscriptions, &c. 

12 Tacitus (Annal- iii. 55) affirms, that between the battle of Actium and the 
reign of Vespasian, the senate was gradually filled with new families from th@ 
Munieipia and colonies of Italy. 

13 Nee quisquam Procerum tentct (licet sere vetusto 
rioreat, ct claro cin^atur Koma senatu) 

Se jactare parem ; sed primi sede relicta 
Aucheniis, da jure licet certare pecundo. 

Claud, in Prob. et Olybrii Toss. 18. 
Such a compliipeut pa;4 to t|ie obscure jiame of the Auch^nii has amazed th« 



OF THE EOMAN EMPIRE. 17 

tlie name of tlie Anicians was unknown ; tlioy aj^pear to 
Lave derived their origin from Prxeneste; and tlic aiiibition 
of tliose new citizens was long satisfied witli tlie Plebeian 
Jionors of tribunes of the people.^^ One liundred and sixty- 
tiiglit years before tlie Christian a^ra, the family was ennobled 
by tlie Prifitorsliip of Anicius, who glorionsly terminated the 
Illyriau war, by tlie conquest of the nation, and the captiv- 
ity of their king-^^ From the triumjjh of tliat general, three 
€onsuLsliips, in distant period-s, mark the succession of tlie 
Anician name.^" From the I'eign of iJiocIetian to the final 
-extinction of th^e Western empire, that name shone with a 
lustre which was not eclipsed, in the ])ublic estimation, by 
the majesty of the Imperial purpk.^' The several branches, 
to whom it was comumuicated, united, by marriage or in- 
heritance, the wealth and titles of the Annian, the Petronian, 
and the Olj^brian houses; and in each generation the num- 
ber of consulships ivas multiplied by an hereditary claim.-^^ 
The Anician family excelled in faith and in riches: they 
were the first of the Rom aw senate who embraced Chris- 
tianity ; and it is probable that Anicius Julian, who was 
afterwards consul and praefect of the city, atoned for his 
attachment to the party of Maxeiitiws, by the readiness with 
which lie accepted the religion of Constantine.^^ Their am- 
ple patrimony was increased by the industry of Probus, the 
chief of the Anician family.; who shared with Gratian the 

critics ; but they all agree, tlifvt vvlwvtever may foe the .true reading, the sense of 
Claudian c-an be iiijp!i©<i<>nly tO) the Anician fuinily . 

1* The earliest date in tlie unuals of Pighius, is that of M, Aniclus <iallus^ 
Trib. PI. A. U.C. 506. Another tribune, Q. Anicius, A. U.C. 50S, Is distinguished 
by the epithet of Prienestixiua, iivy (odv. 43) places the Anieii below the great 
families of Rome. 

1^ Livy. xllv. 30, 31, xlv. 3, 'in, 43. He fairly appreciates the tnerit of AnScius, 
and lufit^y observes tlmt his fame was clouded by the, superior iustreof the Mace- 
donian, which preceded the IHyrian, tiiuwpli. 

i« The dates of the three consulships are, A. U. C. 593, R18, 9C7 ; the two last 
under the reifms of Nero ftnd Caracalla. The «econd of tliese consuls disth> 
guished himself onlv bv his infamous flattery (Tacit. Annal. xv. 74) ; but oven the 
-evidence of crimes, if they bear the stamp of grea,tnes8 and antiquity, is admitted, 
without relucrnncft, t© prove the genealogy of a noble house. 

"Ln the sixth centurv, the noMiity of the Anician name i^ mentioned (Cassi- 
odor. Variar. 1, x. Ep. 10^ 12) with fiitigul&r respect by the minister ^f a Crotbis 
Hung of Italy^ 

18 — FIxustnomiies 

f^gnatos T>roced1thoisoe; quemcnmque requiras 
Hac de stirpe virum, certum est de C'onsule nasc4. 
Per fasces numerantur Avi, semnerque renata 
Nobilitate Virent, et prolem fataeenuuntur. 

(Claudianln Proh. et. OlVb. Coiisulat. 12. ^-c.) Tlie Annll. wliose name seems 
to have merged in the Anician. mark the Fasti witli many consulships, from the 
time of Yespafsian to the fourth centurv. 

19 The title of li ret Chri^^tlan senator'may be justified by the autliority of Pru- 
dentins Tm Svmmach. i. Sn."?) -and the dislike of the Pagans to the Anician family. 
f^ee Tillemont. Hist, des Empereura, ioju. iv. p. 163, v, j). 4i. UiiEOjQ, AxxmiL A. 
t> C12, No. 78, A . D. 322, -NiO, % 

Vol. 111^2 



18 THE DECLINE A2^'I> FALL 

honors of tlie consulship, nncl exercised, four times, the high 
ofhce of Pnetori.'in proefect.-^ His immense estates were 
scattered over the wide extent of the Koman world ; and 
thougli the ])iil)lic miglit sus})ect or disapprove tlie methods 
by Avhich they had been acquired, the generosity and mag- 
nificence of that fortunate statesman deserved tlie gratitude 
of his clients and the admiration of strangers.'--^ Such was 
the respect entertained for his memory, that the two sons of 
Probus, in tlieir earliest youth, and at the request of the 
senate, Avere associated in the consular dignity ; a memorar- 
ble distinction, without example, in the annals of Rome.^^ 

" The marbles of the Anician palace," were used as a 
proverbial expression of opulence and sjdendor ; '-^^ but the 
nobles and senatoi-s of Rome asjnred, in due gradation, to 
imitate that illustrious family. The accurate description of 
the city, which was composed in the Theodosian age, enu- 
merates one thousand seven hundred and eighty ho2ises, the 
residence of wealthy and honorable citizens.^'* Many of 
these stately mansions might almost excuse the exaggera- 
tion of the poet; that Rome contained a multitude of pal- 
aces, and that each palace was equal to a city : since it in- 
cluded within its own precincts evei-ything which could be 
subservient either to use or luxury; markets, hippodromes, 
temples, fountains, baths, porticos, shady groves, and artifi- 
cial aviaries.'-^^ The historian Olympiodorus, who represents 
the state of Rome when it was besieged by the Goths,^^ con- 
tinues to observe, that several of the richest senators re- 
ceived from their estates an annual income of four thousand 

2" Probus .... claritiuUne generis et potentia et opum inagnitudine,cognitu8 
Orbi Romano, per quern universum poene patrimonia sparsa possedit, juste an 
secusnon judicioli est nostri. Animian. IMaroeUin. xxvii. 11. His cliildren and 
widow erected for liim amagniticent tomb in the A^atican, which was demoli^ihed 
in tlie time of Pope Nicholas V. to make room for the new church of St. Peter. 
Baronius, who laments the ruin of tliis Christian monument, has diligently pre- 
served the inscriptions and basso-relievos. See Annal. Eccles. A. l). 395, No. 
6—17. 

-1 Two Persinn satraps travelled to Milan and Eome,to hear St. Ambrose, and 
to see Probus (Paulin. in Alt. Ambros). Claudian (in Cons. Probin. et Olybr. CO 
— GO) seems at a loss how to express the glory of Probus. 

22 See the T)oem whi<h Claudian addressed to the two noble youths. 

'^ Secunciinus. the Manich.'Ban, ap. Baron. Annal. Eccles- A. D. 390, No. 34. 

2* See Nardini. Koma Antica, p. SO, 498, 500. 

25 Quid loquar inclusas inter laquearia sylvas ; 

Vernula quels vario carmine liidit avis. 

Claud. Rutil. Numatian. Itinei'ar. ver. 111. 

The poet lived at the time of the Gothic invasion. A moderate palace would 
have covered Cincinnatus's farm of four acres (A^al. Max. iv. 4). In laxitatem 
ruris excurrunt, says Seneca, Epist. 114. See a judicious note of Mr. Hume, 
Essavs. vol. i. p. 5r.2', last 8vo edition. 

-'^Thi'^ curious account of Rome, in the reign of Honorius, is found in a frag- 
ment of the historian Olympiodorus, ap. rhotium,p. 197. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 19 

pounds of iXo\i\^ above one ImnJred and sixty tliousand 
pounds sterlini^; witliout comjniting the stated jjrovision of 
corn and wine, which, liad tliey been sold, might have 
equalled in value one-third of the money. Com])ared to 
this innnoderate wealth, an ordinary revenue of a thousand 
or fifteen hundred ])ounds of gold might be considered as no 
more than adequate to the dignity of the s(Miatorian rank, 
A\ hich required many expenses of a public and ostentatious 
kind. Several examples are recorded, in the age of Ilonoi'- 
ius, of vain and ])()})ular nobles, wiio celebrated the year of 
their pra3torship by a festival, which lasted seven days, and 
cost abo\e one hundred thousand ])ounds sterling.^' The 
estates of the Roman senators, which so far exceeded the 
proportion of modern wealth, were not confined to the limits 
of Italy. Their j)ossessions extended far beyond the Ionian 
and ^^]gean Seas, to the most distant provinces: the city of 
Nicopolis, which Augustus had founded as an eternal monu- 
ment of the Actian victory, was the property of the devout 
Paula ;'^ and it is observed by Seneca, that the rivers, which 
liad divided hostile nations, now flowed through the lands 
of private citizens.^^ vVccording to their temper and circum- 
stances, the estates of the llomans were either cultivated by 
the labor of their slaves, or granted, for a certain and stipu- 
lated rent, to the industrious farmer. The economical wri- 
ters of antiquity strenuously recommend the former metliod, 
wherever it may be j)racticable ; but if the object should be 
removed, by its distance or magnitude, from the immediate 
eye of the master, they prefer the active care of an old 

2T The sons of Alypius, of Syminaduis, and of Maxitnus, spent, during their 
respective pra?torships, twelve, or twenty, or forty, centenaries (or hundred 
weight of gold). See Olynipiodor. ap. Phot. p. 197. This popular estimation 
allows some latitude ; but it is didlcult to explain a law in the Tlieodosian Code 
(1. vi. leg. 5), which lixes the expense of the tiist pr;utor at 2.'),000, of the second at 
L'0,000. and of the third at 15,(K)U folles. The name of foil is (see M6m. de I'Aca- 
deinie des Inscriptions, tom. xxviii. p. 727) was equally applied to a i)urse of 125 
pieces of silver, and to a small copper coin of the value of -« pV-r V^i-'t of that 
purse. In the former sense, the 25,000 folles would be equal to 150,000/., in the 
latter, to live or six pounds sterling. The one appears extravagant, the other is 
ridiculous. There must have existed some thinl and mi<ldle value, which is here 
understood ; but ambiguity is an excusable fault in the language of laws. 

2^ Nicopolis in Actiaco littore sita possessionis vestraj nunc pars vel 

maxima est, Jerom. in prsefat. Comment, ad Epistoi. ad Titum, tom. ix. p. 24.3, 
M. D Tillemont supposes, strangely enough, that it was part of Agamemnon's 
inheritance. Mem. Ecclos. torn. xii. p. 85. 

'-' Seneca, Epist. Ixxxix. His language is of the declamatory kind, but decla- 
mation could scarcely exa<.Tgerate the avarice and luxury of the Romans. The 
philo;-opher himself »leserves some share of the repronch, if it be true that his 
rigoro'.'s exaction of Qaadringenfiex, above three hundred thousand pounds 
which he had lent at hitrh interest, provoked a rebellion in Britain (Dion Cassius 
1. Ixii. p. 100;5.) According to the conjecture of Gale (Antoninus's Itinerary in 
Britain, p. 92), the same Faustinus possessed au estate near Bury, in Suffolk, and 
another in the kingdom of Naples. 



20 THE DECLINE AND EALL 

liereclitaiy tenant, attached to the soil, and interested in the 
produce, to tlie mercenary administration of a negligent, 
perhaps an unfaithful, steward.^^ 

The opulent nobles of an immense capital, who were 
never excited by the pursuit of military glory, and seldom 
engaged in the occupations of civil government, naturally 
resigned their leisure to the business and amusements of 
private life. At Rome, commerce was always held in con- 
tempt : but the senators, from the first age of the republic, 
increased their patrimony, and multiplied their clients, by 
the lucrative practice of usuiy ; and the obsolete laws were 
eluded, or violated, by tlie nmtuai inclinations and interest 
of both parties.^-^ A considerable mass of treasure must 
always have existed at Rome, either in the current coin of 
the empire, or in the form of gold and silver plate ; and 
there ^vere many sideboards in the time of Pliny which 
contained more solid silver, than had been transported by 
Scipio from vanquished Carthage.^^ The greater part of the 
nobles, who dissipated their fortunes in profuse luxury, 
found tliemselves poor in the midst of wealth, and idle in a 
constant round of dissipation. Their desires were continu- 
ally gratified by tiie labor of a thousand hands; of the nu- 
merous train of their domestic slaves, Avho were actuated 
by tiie fear of punishment ; and of the various professions 
of artificers and merchants, who were more powerfull}^ im- 
pelled by the hopes of gain. The ancients were destitute of 
many of the conveniences of life, which have been invented 
or improved by the progress of industry ; and the plenty of 
o^lass and linen has diffused more real comforts amono- the 
modern nations of Europe, than the senators of Rome could 
derive from all the refinements of pompous or sensual lux- 
ury.^^ Their luxury, and their manners, have been the sub- 
so Volusius, a wealthy senator (Tacit. Annal. iii. 30), always preferred tenants 
born on the estate. Columella, who received this maxim from liim, argues very 
judiciously on the subject. De Re Rustica, 1. i. c. 7, p. 408, edit. Gesner. Leipsig, 

31 Valesius (ad Ammian. xiv. 6) has proved, from Chrysostom and Ancrustin, 
that the senators were not allowed to lend money at usury. Yet it appep^rs from 
the Theodosian Code (see Godfroy ad I. ii. tit. xxxiii. tom. i. pn. 2.^0-2R0\ that 
they were permitted to take six per cent., or one-half of the legal interest; and, 
what ismore sincrular, this permission wasjrranted to the ymtva senators. 

32 Plin. Hist. Natur. xxxiii. 50. He states the silver at only 4.3f^0 pounds, which 
is increased bv Livy (xxx. 45) to 100,023 : the former seems too little for an 
opulent city, the latter too much for any private sideboard. 

"■3 The learned Arbiithnot (Tables of' Ancient Coins. <^c.. p. 1.53) has observed 
with humor, a^id I believe with truth, that Augustus liad neither glass to his 
windows nor a shirt to his back. Under the lower empire, the use of linen and 
glass became somewhat more common.* 



* The discovery of glass in such common use at Pompeii, spoils the jest of 
Arbuthnot. See Sir W. Gell. Pompeiana, 2d ser. p. 98.— M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 21 

ject of minute and laborious disquisition : but as such 
inquiries would divert me too long from the design of the 
present work, I sliall produce an authentic state of Rome 
and its inhabitants, which is more peculiarly ap])licable to 
tlie period of the Gothic invasion. Ammianus Marcellinus, 
who prudently chose the cai)ital of the emj)ire as the resi- 
dence, the best ada})ted to the historian of his own times, 
has mixed with the narrative of public events a lively 
rejiresentation of the scenes with which he was familiarly 
conversant. The judicious reader will not always approve 
of the asperity of censure, the choice of circumstances, or 
the style of expression ; he will perhaps detect the latent 
prejudices, and personal resentmeijts, Avhich soured the tem- 
])er of Ammianus himself; but he will surely observe, with 
philosophic curiosity, the interesting and original picture of 
the manners of llome.^^ 

"The greatness of Rome" — such is the language of the 
historian — " was founded on the rare, and almost incredible, 
alliance of virtue and of fortune. The long ])eriod of her 
infancy was employed in a laborious struggle against the 
tribes of Italy, the neighbors and enemies of the rising city. 
In the strength and ardor of youth, she sustained the storms 
of war ; carried her victorious arms beyond the seas and 
the mountains ; and brought home trium])hal laurels from 
every country of the globe. At length, verging towards old 
age, and sometimes conquering by the terror only of her 
name, she sought the blessings of ease and tranquillity. The 
VENERABLE CITY, which had tram])led on the necks of the 
fiercest nations, and established a system of laws, the per- 
petual guardians of justice and freedom, was content, like a 
Avise and wealthy parent, to devolve on the Caesars, her 
favorite sons, the care of governing her ample patrimony.^^ 
A secure and profound peace, such as had been once en- 
joyed in the reign of Numa, succeeded to the tumults of a 

34 It is inoniTibeTit on me to explam the lib^^rtiVs vliirh T have taken with the 
textof Amnnanus. 1. T have melted down into one piece the Pixth chaptei oi 
the fourteenth and the fonrth of the twentv-eiphth book. 2. I have given ouier 
and connection to the confused mass of materials. .^. T have Fofter.ed some ex - 
travnpant hyperboles, and pared awav some supcrflnitifs of the oripinal. 4. i 
have developed some observations whi^h were insinuated .rather than (^'^ri'f*!|'^"' 
"With these allowances, my version will be found, not literal indeed, but .Laitliiul 
and exact. , 

35 Claudian. who seems to have read the liistory of Ammianus, speaks of tnia 
great revolution in a much less courtly style : — 

Postquam jura ferox in se communia Caesar 
Tranatulit ; et lapsi mores ; desuetaque priscis 
Artibup, in gremium pacis servile rcf^essi. 

De Bel, Gildonico, p. 49. 



22 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

republic : while Rome was still adored as the queen of the 
earth ; and the subject nations still reverenced the name of 
the people and the majesty of the senate. But this native 
splendor," continues Ammianus, '' is 'degraded, and sullied, 
by the conduct of some nobles, who, unmindful of their 
own dignity, and of that of their country, assume an un- 
bounded license of vice and folly. They contend with eacli 
other in the empty vanity of titles and surnames ; and 
curiously select, or invent, the most lofty and sonorous ap- 
pellations, Reburrus, or Fabunius, Pagonius, or Tarasius,^^ 
which may impress the ears of the vulgar with astonishment 
and respect. From a vain ambition of perpetuating their 
memory, they affect to multiply their likeness in statues of 
bronze and marble ; nor are they satisfied, unless those 
statues are covered with plates of gold ; an honorable dis- 
tinction, first granted to Acilius the consul, after he had 
subdued, by his arms and counsels, the power of King An- 
tiochus. The ostentation of displaying, of magnifying, 
perhaps, the rent-roll of the estates which they possess in all 
the provinces, from tlie rising to the setting sun, provokes 
the just resentment of every man, who recollects, that their 
poor and invincible ancestors were not distinguished from 
the meanest of the soldiers, by the delicacy of their food, 
or the splendor of their apparel. But the modern nobles 
measure their rank and consequence according to the lofti- 
ness of their chariots,^^ and the weighty magnificence of 
tlieir dress. Their long robes ot silk and purple float in the 
wind ; and as they are agitated by art or accident, they oc- 
casionally discover tlie under-garments, the rich tunics, em- 
broidered with tlie figures of various animals.^^ Followed 



-6 The minute diligence of antiquarians has not been able to verify these ex- 
traordinary names. I am of opinion that they were invented by the historian 
himself, who was afraid of any personal satire or application. It is certain, how- 
ever, that the simple denominations of the Komans were gradually lengthened to 
the number of four, live, or even seven, fjompous surnames; as. for instance, 
Marcus Miecius Maemmius Furius IJalburius Csecilianus Placidus. See Noris 
Cenotaph. Pisan. Dissert, c. iv. p. 438. 

^^ The carraca', or coaches of the Romans, were often of solid silver, curiously 
carved and engraved ; and the trapnings of the mules, or horses, were embossed 
with gold. This magnificence continuisd from the reign of Nero to that of Ho- 
noriuj ; and the Appi3,n way was covered with thespletidid equipages of the 
nobles, who came out to meet St. Melania, when she returned to liome, six years 
before the Gothic siege (Seneca, epist. Ixxxvii. Plin. Hist. Natur. xxxiii. 40. 
Paulin. Nolan, apud Baron. Annal. Eccles. A. D. 397. No 5). Yet pomp is well 
exchanged for convenience ; and a plain modern coach, that is hung upon 
springs, is much preferable to the silver or gold carts of antiquity, which rolled 
on the axle-tree, and were exposed, for the most part, to the inclemency of the 
weather. 

33 In a homily of Asterius, bishop of Amasia, M. de Valois has discovered (ad 



OF THE llOMAN EMPIRE. 23 

by a train of fifty servants, and tearing up tlie pavement, 
tliey move along the streets with the same impetuous speed 
as if they travelled with post liorses ; and the example of 
the senators is boldly imitated by the matrons and ladies, 
whose covered carriages are continu;dly driving round the 
immense space of the city and suburbs. Whenever these 
persons of high distinction condescend to visit the public 
baths, they assume, on their entrance, a tone of loud and 
insolent command, and a])propriate to their own use the 
conveniences which were designed for tlie Roman people. 
If, in these ])laces of mixed and general resort, they meet 
any of the infamous ministers of their pleasures, they ex- 
press their affection by a tender embrace ; wliile they 
proudly decline the salutation of their fellow-citizens, who 
are not permitted to aspire above the honor of kissing their 
hands, or their knees. As soon as they have indulged them- 
selves in the refreshm^'ut of tlie bath, they resume their 
rmgs, and the other ensigns of their dignity ; select from 
their private wardrobe of the finest linen, such as might 
suffice for a dozen j)ersons, the garments the most agreeable 
to their fancy, and maintain till their departure the same 
liaughty demeanor ; which perhaps might have been excused 
in the great Marcellus, after the conquest of Syracuse. 
Sometimes, indeed, these heroes undertake more arduous 
achievements ; they visit their estates in Italy, and procure 
themselves, by the toil of servile liands, the amusements of 
the chase.^® If at any time, but more especially on a hot 
day, they have courage to sail, in their painted galleys, from 
the Lucrine Lake*° to their elegant villas on the sea-coast of 
Puteoli and Cayeta,'*^ they compare their own expeditions to 
the marches of Ca3sar and Alexander. Yet should a fly 

Ammian. xiv. G) that tbis was a new fashion ; that bears.'wolves, liona,and tigers» 
woods, hunting-matches, &c., were represented in embroidery ; and that the 
more pious coxcombs substituted the figure or legend of some favorite saint. 

35 See Pliny's Epistles, i. G. Three large v/ild boars were allured and taken in 
the toils without interrupting the studies of the philosophic sportsman. 

*• The change from the inauspicious word Avernus, which stands in the text, 
is immaterial. The two lakes, Avernus and Lucrinus, communicated with each 
other, and were fashioned by the stupendous moles of Agrippa into the Julian 
port, which opened, through a narrow entrance, into the Gulf of Puteoli. Virgil, 
who resided on the spot, has described (Georgic ii. 16) this work at the moment 
of its execution : and his commentators, especially Catrou, have derived much 
light from Strabo. Suetonius, and Dion. Earthquakes and volcanoes have 
changed the face of the country, and turned the Lucrine Lake, since the year 
1.538, into the Monte Nuovo. See Tamillo Pellegrino Discorsi della Campania 
Felice, p. 239,244, &c. Antonii Sanfelicii Campania, p. 13. 8<<.* 

■ii Tho regna Cumana et Puteolana ; loca caetiroqni valde expetenda, interpel- 
laatium autem raultitudine psene f ugieuda. Cicero ad Attic, xvi. 17. 



* Compare Lyell's Geology, ii. 72.— 31. 



24 THE DECLINE AND PALI/ 

presume to settle on the silken folds of their gilded um- 
brellas ; should a sunbeam penetrate through some unguarded 
and imperceptible cliink, they deplore their intolerable hard- 
ships, and lament, in affected language, that they were not 
born in the land of the Cimmerians,^'^ the regions of eternal 
darkness. In these jouraeys into the country,^* the whole 
body of the household marches Avith their master. In the 
same manner as tlie cavalry and infantry, the heavy and the 
light armed troops, the advanced guard and the rear, are 
marshalled by the skill of their military leaders ; so the 
domestic officers, who bear a rod, as an ensign of authority, 
distribute and arrange the numerous train of slaves and 
attendants. The baggage and wardrobe move in the front ; 
and are immediately followed by a multitude of cooks, and 
inferior ministers, employed in the service of the kitchens, 
and of the table. The main body is composed of a promis- 
cuous crowd of slaves, increased by the accidental concourse 
of idle or dependent plebeians. The rear is closed by the 
favorite band of eunuchs, distributed from age to youth, 
according- to the order of seniority. Their numbers and 
their deformity excite the liorror of the indignant specta- 
tors, who are ready to execrate the memory of Semiramis, 
for the cruel art which she invented, of frustrating the pur- 
poses of nature, and of blasting in the bud the hopes of 
future generations. In the exercise of domestic jurisdictiony 
the nobles of Rome express an exquisite sensibility for any 
personal injury, and a contemptuous indifference for the 
rest of the human species. When they have called for warm 
water, if a slave has been tardy in his obedience, he is in- 
stantly chastised with three hundred lashes : but should the 
same slave commit a wilful murder, the master will mildly 
observe that he i* a worthless fellow ; but that if he repeats- 
the offence, he shall not escape punishment. Hospitality 
was formerly the virtue of the Romans ; and every stranger 
Avho could plead either merit or misfortune, was relieved, or 

*^ Tlie proverbial expression of Cinrmerian darl-ness was originally l>orrowe<i 
from the description of Homer (in the eleventh "book of the Odyssey), which het 
applies to a remote and fabulous country on the shores of the ocean. See Erasmi 
Adagia, in his works, torn. ii. p. 593, the Leyden edition. 

<3 We m.iy learn from Seneca (epist. c xxiii.) three ctirions circumstances 
relative to the jo^ri'eys of the Romans. 1. They were preceded by a troop of 
Nnmidian light horse, v/ho announced, by a cloud of diist, the approach of a 
great man. 2. ITieir bagsrage mules trarsported not only the precious vases, but 
even the fragile vessels of crystal and vi^irm, which last is almost proved", by the 
learned French translator of Seneca (torn. iii. pp. 402-4L'2\ to mean the porcelain 
of rhina and Japan. ?,. Tlie beautiful faces of the young slaves were covered 
with a medicated crust, er ointiseut, which secured them againist the efiects of 
the sun and frost. 



OF THE ROMAX KMPIHE. 25 

rewardefl, by their generosity. At present, if .1 foreigner, 
perhaps of no c<)ntein|)tible rank, is inti'oduced to one of the 
])rou(l and wealtliy senators, lie is welcomed indeed in the 
first andience, witli snch warm ])rofessi()ns, and such kind 
inquiries, that lie retires, enchanted with the affability of 
his illustrious friend, and full of regret that he had so long 
delayed his journey to Home, the native seat of manners, as 
well as of empire. Secure of a favorable reception, he re- 
peats his visit the ensuing day, and is mortified by the dis- 
covery, that his person, his name, and his country, are 
already forgotten. If ho still has resolution to ])ersevere, 
he is gradually numbered in the train of dependents, and 
obtains the permission to pay his assiduous and unprofitable 
court to a haughty patron, incapable of gratitude or friend- 
sliip ; who scarcely deigns to remark his presence, his de- 
])arture, or his retui'n. Whenever the rich j)repare a solemn 
and popular entertainment ; ^* whenever they celebrate, with 
])rofuse and pernicious luxury, their private banquets; the 
choice of the guests is the subject of anxious deliberation. 
The modest, the sober, and the learned, are seldom ])re- 
f erred ; and the nomenclators, Avho are commonly swayed 
by interested motives, have the address to insert, in the list 
of invitations, the obscure names of the most worthless of 
mankind. I>ut the frequent and familiar comjianions of the 
great, are those parasites, who practice the most nseful of 
all arts, the art of llattery ; who eagerly applaud each word, 
and every action, of their immortal patron ; gaze with rap- 
ture on his marble columns and variegated pavements ; and 
strenuously praise the pomp and elegance which he is taught 
to consider as a part of his personal merit. At the Roman 
tables, the birds, the squirrels ^^'^ or the fish, which appear of 

<* Bistributio solemnium sportularum. The sporfulce, or sportcUce, were small 
baskets, supposed to contain a quantity of hot provisions, of the vahie of iro 
quadrant, s, or t\velvei>ence halfpenny, which were ranged in order in the hall, 
and ostentatiously distributed to tlic hungry or servile crowd who waited at the 
door._ This indelicate custom is very frequently mentioned in the epigrams of 
I\Iartia], and the satires of Juvenal. See likewise Suetonius, in Claud, c. 21, iu 
Ncron. c. IG, in I^omitian, c. 4, 7, These baskets of provisions were afterwards 
converted into large pieces of gold and silver coin, or plate, which were mutually 
given and accepted even by persons of the liifi^b.est rank (see Symmach. epi t. iv. 
55, ix. 124, and Miscell. p. 25G), on solemn occasions, of consulships, marriages, 
&c. 

*p The want of an English name obliges me to refer to the common genus of 
equirrels,* the Latin ^//i.s-, the French loir; a little animal, who inb.abits the 



great numbers ox (j tires waa practi:; 



* Is it not the dormouse V — M. 



26 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

an uncommon size, are contemplated with curious attention ; 
a pair of scales is accurately applied, to ascertain their real 
weight ; and, while the more rational guests are disgusted 
by the A^ain and tedious rej^etition, notaries are summoned 
to attest, by an authentic record, the truth of such a mar- 
vellous event. Another method of introduction into the 
houses and society of the great, is derived from the profes- 
sion of gaming, or, as it is more politely styled, of play. 
The confederates are united by a strict and indissoluble 
bond of friendship, or rather of conspiracy ; a superior 
degree of skill in the Tesserarian art (wliicli may be inter- 
preted the game of dice and tables) ^^ is a sure road to 
wealth and reputation. A master of that sublime science, 
who in a su]:)]Kn', or assembly, is j^laced below a magistrate, 
displays in his countenance the surprise and indignation 
which Cato might be sui:)iiosed to feel, when he was refused 
the pr?etorslup by the votes of a capricious people. The 
acquisition of knowledge seldom engages the curiosity of 
nobles, who abhor the fatigue, and disdain the advantages, 
of study ; and the only books which they peruse are tlie 
Satires of Juvenal, and the verbose and fabulous liistories 
of Marius Maximus.^^ The libraries, which they have in- 
herited from their fathers, are secluded, like dreary sepul- 
chres, from the light of day.^^ But the costly instruments 
of the theatre, flutes, and enormous lyres, and hydraulic 
organs, are constructed for their use ; and the liarmony of 
vocal and instrumental music is incessantly repeated in the 
23alaces of Rome. In those j^'^^hices, sound is preferred to 

villas as a profitable article of rural economy (Varro, de Re Rustica, iii. 15-) The 
excessive demand of tliem for luxurious tjibles was increased by the foolish pro- 
hibitions of the censors ; audit is reported that they are still esteemed in modern 
Rome, and are frequently sent as presents by the Colonna princes (see Brotier, 
the last editor of Pliny, torn. ii. p. 458, apud Barbou, 1779.) 

■15 This game, which might be translated by the more familiar names of 
triclctrac, or backgammon, v/us a favorite amusement of the gravest Romans ; 
and old Mucins Scffivola, the lawyer, had the reputation of a very skilful player. 
It was called Indus duodecim scripiorum, from the twelve scripta,o\: lines, wliich 
equally divided the alveolua or table. On these, the two armies, the white and 
the black, each consisting of fifteen men, or calculi, were regularly placed, and 
alternately moved according to the laws of the game, and the chances of the 
tessera, or dice. Dr. Hyde, who diligently traces the history and varieties uf the 
nerdihidiam (a name of Persic etymology) from Ireland to Japan, pours forth, 
on this trifling subject, a copious'torrent of classic and Oriental learning. See 
Syntagma Dissertat. torn. ii. pp. 217-405. 

•*' ]\larius Maximus, homo omnium verbosissimus, qui, et mythistoricis se 
voluminibus implicavit. Vopiscus in Hist. August, p. 2i2. He wrote the lives 
of tlie emperors, from Trajan to Alexander Sevcrus. See Gerard Vossius de 
Hi.storicia Latin. 1. ii. c .'?, in his v/orks, vol. iv. p. 47. 

•*3 This satire improbably exaggerated. The Saturnalia of Macrobius, and the 
epistles of Jerom, afford satisfactory i^roofs that Christian theologj- and classic 
literature were studiously cultivated by several Romans, of both sexes, and of 
the highest rank. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 27 

sense, and the care of the body to that of the mind. It is 
allowed as a salutary maxim, that the light and frivolous 
suspicion of a contagious malady, is of sufficient weight to 
excuse the visits of the most intimate friends ; and even the 
servants, who are despatched to make the decent inquiries, 
are not suffered to return home, till they have undergone 
the ceremony of a ])revious ablution. Yet this selfisli and 
unmanly delicacy occasionally yields to the more imperious 
passion of avarice. The prospect of gain will urge a rich 
and gouty senator as far as Spoleto ; every sentiment of 
arrogance and dignity is subdued by the hopes of an inheri- 
tance, or even of a legacy ; and a wealthy childless citizen 
is the most powerful of the Romans. The art of obtaining 
the signature of a favorable testament, and sometimes of 
hastening the moment of its execution, is perfectly under- 
stood ; and it lias happened, that in the same house, though 
in different apartments, a husband and a wife, Avith the 
Laudable design of overreaching each other, have summoned 
their respective lawyers, to declare, at the same time, their 
mutual, but contradictory, intentions. The distress which 
follows and chastises extravagant luxury, often reduces the 
great to the use of the most humiliating expedients. When 
they desire to borrow, they employ the base and supplica- 
ting style of the slave in the comedy ; but when they are 
called upon to pay, they assume the royal and tragic dec- 
lamation of the grandsons of Hercules. If the demand is 
repeated, they readily procure some trusty sycophant, in- 
structed to maintain a charge of poison, or magic, against 
the insolent creditor ; who is seldom released from j^rison, 
till he has signed a discharge of the whole debt. These 
vices, which degrade the moral character of the Romans, 
are mixed with a puerile superstition, that disgraces their 
understanding. They listen with confidence to the predic- 
tions of haruspices, who pretend to read, in the entrails of 
victims, the signs of future greatness and prosperity ; and 
there are many who do not presume either to bathe, or to 
dine, or to appear in public, till they have diligently con- 
sulted, according to the rules of astrology, the situation of 
Mercury, and the aspect of the moon.^^ It is singular 
enough, that this vain credulity may often be discovered 
among the profane ske2')tics, who imjiiously doubt, or deny, 
the existence of a celestial 2:)ower." 

*^ Macrnhiuf?, the friend cf these Roman nobles, considered the stars as the 
cause, or at least the signt;-, of future events 'de Somu. Scipion. 1, i. c. 19, p- G8). 



28 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

Id populous cities, which are the se.at of commerce ancl 
manufactures, the middle ranks of inhabitants, who derive 
their subsistence from the dexterity or labor of their hands, 
are commonly the most prolific, the most useful, and, in that 
sense, the most respectable pai'tof the community. But the 
plebeians of Jiome, who disdained such sedentary and ser- 
vile arts, had been oppressed from the earliest times by the 
weight of debt and usury; and the husbandman, during the 
term of his military service, was obliged to abandon the cul- 
tivation of his farm.^*^ The lands of Italy, which had been 
originally divided among the families of free and indigent 
proprietors, were insensibly purchased or usurped by the 
avarice of the nobles ; and in the age which preceded the 
fall of the republic, it was computed that only two thousand 
citizens were possessed of an independent substance.^^ Yet 
as long as the people bestowed, by their suffrages, the honors 
of the state, the command of the legions, and the adminis- 
tration of wealthy provinces, their conscious pride alle- 
viated, in some measure, the hardships of poverty; and their 
wants were seasonably supplied by the ambitious liberality 
of the candidates, who aspired to secure a venal majority in 
the thirty-five tribes, or the hundred and ninety-three cen- 
turies, of Rome. But Avhen the prodigal commons had im- 
prudently alienated not only the use^ but the inheritance of 
power, they sunk, under the reign of the Caesars, into a vile 
and wretched populace, which must, in a few generations, 
have been totally extinguished, if it had not been continu- 
ally recruited by the manumission of slaves, and the influx 
of strangers. As early as the time of Hadrian, it was the 
just complaint of the ingenuous natives, that the capital had 
attracted the vices of the universe, and the manners of the 
most opposite nations. Tlie intemperance of the Gauls, the 
cunning and levity of the Greeks, the savage obstinacy of 
the Egyptians and Jews, the servile temper of the Asiatics, 
and the dissolute, effeminate prostitution of the Syrians, 
were mingled in the various multitude, which, under the 
proud and false denomination of Romans, presumed to de- 

50 The histories of Livy (see particiilarly vi, 36) are full of the extortions of the 
rich, and the sulfei iiigs of the poor debtors. The melancholy Btory of a brave old 
soldier (I)ionyr^, Hal. 1. vi. c. 2G, p. 347^ edit. Hudson, and Livy, ii. 23) nuist have 
been frequently repeated in those primitive times, which have been so unde- 
servedly j)rai8ed. 

'1 Non esse in civitate duo millia hominum qui rem haberent, Cicero. Offic. 
ii. 21, and Comment. Paul. Manut. in edit. GrjEv. This vague computation was 
made A. U. C 649, in a speech of the tribune riiilippus, and it was his object, as 
well as that of the Gracchi (see Plutarch), to deploie, and perhaps to exaggerate, 
the misery of the common people. 



OF THE ROMAX EMPIRE. 29 

spise their fellow-subjects, and even their sovereigns, who 
dwelt beyond the precincts of the eternal city." 

Yet the name of that city was still pronounced with 
respect: the frequent and capricious tumults of its inhabi- 
tants were indulged with impunity ; and the successors of 
Constantine, instead of crushing tlie last remains of the de- 
mocracy by the strong arm of military power, embraced the 
mild policy of Augustus, and studied to relieve the poverty, 
and to amuse the idleness, of an innumerable people.*"^ I. 
For the convenience of the lazy plebeians, the monthly dis- 
tributions of corn were converted into a daily allowance of 
bread ; a great number of ovens were constructed and main- 
tained at the public expense; and at tlie appointed liour, each 
citizen, who was furnished with a ticket, ascended the flight 
of steps, which had been assigned to his peculiar quarter or 
division, and received, either as a gift, or at a very low price, 
a loaf of bread of the weight of three pounds, for the use of 
his family. II. The forest of Lucania, whose acorns fattened 
large droves of wild hogs,^^ afforded, as a species of tribute, 
a plentiful supply of cheap and wholesome meat. During 
five months of the year, a regular allowance of bacon was 
distributed to the poorer citizens ; and the annual consump- 
tion of the capital, at a time when it was much declined 
from its former lustre, was ascertained, by an edict of Ya- 
lentinian the Third, at three millions six hundred and 
twenty-eight thousand pounds. ^^ III. In the manners of 
antiquity, the use of oil was indispensable for the lamp, as 
well as for the bath ; and the annual tax, which was imposed 

52 See the third Satire (60-125) of Juvenal, who indignantly complains, 
Quamvis quota portio L-ecis Achaei ! 



Jampridem Syrus in Tiberem defluxit Orontes ; 
Et linguam et mores, &c. 

Seneca, when he proposes to comfort his mother (Consolat. ad Helv. c. 6.) by the 
retlectioii that a great part of mankind were in a stute of exile, reminds her how 
few of the inhabitants of Rome were born in the city. 

•"■3 Almost all that is said of the bread, bacon, oil, wine, &c., may be found in 
the fourteenth book of the Theodosian Code ; which expressly treats of the police 
ot the great cities. See particularly the titles iii. iv. xv. xvi. xvii.xxiv. The col- 
lateral testimonies are produced in Gotlefroy's Conmientary, autl it is needless to 
transcribe them. According to a law of Theodosius, which appreciates in money 
the military allowance, a piece of gold (eleven shillings) was equivalent to eighty 
pounds of bacon, or toeiglity pounds of oil, or to twelve modii (or pecks) of salt, 
(Cod. Theod. 1. viii. tit. iv, leg. 17). This equation, compared with another of 
seventy pounds of bacon for an amphora (Cod. Theo. 1. xiv. tit. iv. leg. 4) fixes 
the price of wine at about sixteenpence the gallon. 

^* The anonymous author of the Description of the World (p. 14, in torn. iii. 
Geograph. Minor. Hudson) observes of lAxcania, in his barbarous Latin, Regie 
optima, et ipsa omnibus habundans, et landum multum foras emittit. Propter 
quod est in montibus, cujus aescam aninialium variam, &c. 

^••' See Novell, ad <'alcem Cod. Theod. D. Valent. 1. i, tit. xv. This law waa 
published at Rome, June 2Uth, A. D. 452. 



30 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

on Africa for tlie benefit of Kome, amounted to tlic weMit 
of lliree miilions of pounds, to tlie measin-e, perliaps, of three 
Imndred tliousand English gallons. IV. The anxiety^ of 
Augustus to provide the metropolis Avith sufficient plenty of 
corn, was not extended beyond that necessary article of 
liuman subsistence ; and when the popular clamor accused 
the dearness and scarcity of wine, a proclamation was issued, 
by the grave reformer, to remind his subjects tliat no man 
could reasonably complain of thirst, since the aqueducts of 
Agrippa had introduced into the city so many copious 
streams of pure and salubrious water.^^ This rigid sobriety 
was insensibly relaxed ; and, although the generous design 
of Aurelian^^ does not appear to have been executed in its 
full extent, the use of wine was allowed on very easy and 
liberal terms. The administration of the public cellars was 
delegated to a magistrate of honorable rank ; and a consid- 
erable part of the vintage of Cam23ania was reserved for the 
fortunate inhabitants of Rome. 

The stupendous aqueducts, so justly celebrated by the 
praises of Augustus himself, replenished the lliernice^ or 
baths, wliich liad"been constructed in every part of the city, 
with Imperial magnificence. The baths of Antoninus Cara- 
calla, which were open, at stated hours, for the indiscriminate 
service of the senators and the people, contained above six- 
teen hundred seats of marble ; and more than three thousand 
were reckoned in the baths of Diocletian.^^ The walls of the 
lofty apartments were covered with curious mosaics, that im- 
itated the art of the pencil in the elegance of design, and the 
variety of colors. The Egyptian granite Avas beautifully en- 
crusted with the precious green marble of Numidia ; the per- 
petual stream of hot water was poured into the capacious 
basins, through so many wide mouths of bright and massy 
silver ; and the meanest Roman could purchase, with a small 
copper coin, the daily enjoyment of a scene of pomp and 
luxury, which might excit the envy of the kings of Asia.^^ 
From these stately palaces issued a swarm of dirty and 

6« Sueton. in August, c. 42. The utmost debauch of the emperor himself, in 
his favorite wine of IQuetia, never exceeded a scxtarius (an Englisli pint). Id. c. 
77. Torrentius ad loo. and Arbuthnot's Tables, p. 86. 

" His design was to plant vineyards along tlie sea-coast of Hetruria (Vopiscus, 
in Hist. August, p. 225) ; the dreary, unwholesome, uncultivated Mco'emme of 
Modern Tuscany. 

si^ Olympiodor. apud Phot. p. 197. 

C5 Seneca (epistol. Ixxxvi.) compares the baths of Scipio Africanus, at his 
villa of Liternuni, with the magniticence (which was continually increasing) of 
the public baths of Rome, long before the stately Therniaj of Antoninr.s and Dio- 
cletian were erected. The quadrans paid for admission was the quarter of the 
as, about one-eighth of an English penny. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 81 

ragged plebdais, without slioes and without a mantle; who 
loitered aw^sy whole days in the street or Forum, to liear 
news and to hold disputes; wlio dissipated, in extravagant 
gaming, the misei-able pittance of their wives and children ; 
and spent tlie hours of the night in obscure tarvens, and 
brothels, in the indulgence of gross and A'ulgar sensuality .^^ 
But the most lively and splendid amusement of the idle 
multitude, depended on the frequent exhibition of ])ublic 
games and spectacles. The piety of Christian princes had 
suppressed the inhuman combats of gladiators ; but the 
Roman people still considered the Circus as their liome, their 
temple, and the seat of the republic. The im])atient crowd 
rushed at the dawn of day to secure their ])laces, and there 
were many who passed a sleepless and anxious night in the 
adjacent porticos. From the morning to the evening, care- 
less of the sun, or of the rain, the spectators, who sometimes 
amounted to the number of four hundred thousand, remain- 
ed in eager attention ; their eyes fixed on the horses and 
charioteers, their minds agitated Avith hope and fear, for the 
success of the colors which they espoused : and the happiness 
of Rome appeared to hang on the event of a race.^^ The 
same immoderate ardor inspired their clamors, and their ap- 
plause, as often as they were entertained with the luinting 
of wild beasts, and the various modes of theatrical repre- 
sentation. These representations in modern capitals may 
deserve to be considered as a ]nire and elegant school of 
taste, and perhaps of virtue. But the Tragic and Comic 
Muse of the Romans, who seldom aspired beyond the imita- 
tion of Attic genius, ^^ had been almost totally silent since 
the fall of the republic ; ^^ and their place was unworthily 

•"'" Ammianus (1. xiv. c. 6, and 1. xxviii. c. 4), after describing the luxury and 
pride of the nobles of Rome, exposes, with equal indignation, the vices and fol- 
lies of the common people. 

61 Juvenal. Satir. xi. 191, &c. The expressions of the historian Ammianus are 
not less strong and animated than those of the satirist : and both the one and tlie 
other painted from the life. Tlie numbers which the great Circus was capable of re- 
ceiving are taken from the orlr/inal Notitiie of the city. The differences between 
them prove that they did not transcribe each other ; but the sum may appear in- 
credible, though the country on these occasions flocked to the city. 

62 Sometimes indeed they composed original pieces. 

Vestigia Graeca 



Ausi deserere etcelebrare domestica facta. 

Herat. Epistol. ad Pisones, 285, and the learned, though perplexed note of Dacier, 
who might have allowed the name of tragedies to the JJrutns and the Deems of 
Pacuvius, or to the Cafo of Maternus. The Ocfaria, ascribed to one of the Sene- 
cas, still remains a very unfavorable specimen of Roman tragedy. 

«^3 In the lime of Qiiintiliau and Pliny, a tragic poet was reduced to the imper- 
fect method of hiring a great room, and reading his play to the conipany, whom 
he invited for that purpose. (See Dialog, de Oratoribus, c. 9, 11, and Plin. Epis- 
tol. vii. 17.) 



32 THE DECLINE AND EALL 

occupied by licentious farce, effeminate music, and splendid 
pageantry. The pnntomimes/'* wlio maintained their repu- 
tation from tlie age of Augustus to the sixth century, ex- 
pressed, without the use of words, the various fables of 
the gods and heroes of antiquity ; and tlie perfection of their 
art, which sometimes disarmed the gravity of the philoso- 
])her, always excited the a])plause and wonder of the people. 
The vast and magnificent theatres of Rome were filled 
by three thousand female dancers, and by three thousand 
singers, with the masters of the respective choruses. Such 
was the popular favor which they enjoyed, that, in a time 
of scarcity, when all strangers were banished from the cit\, 
the merit of contributing to the public pleasures exempted 
them from a law, which was strictly executed against the 
professors of the liberal arts.^^ 

It is said, that the foolish curiosity of Elagabalus at- 
tempted to discover, from the quantity of spiders' webs, the 
number of the inhabitants of Rome. A more rational 
method of inquiry might not have been undeserving of the 
attention of the wisest princes, who could easily have re- 
solved a question so important for the Roman government, 
and so interestinof to succeedinix a2:es. The births and 
deaths of the citizens were duly registered ; and if any 
writer of antiquity had condescended to mention the annual 
amount, or the common average, we might now produce 
some satisfactory calculation, which would destroy the ex- 
travagant assertions of critics, and perhaps confirm the 
modest and probable conjectures of philosophers.*^^ The 
most diligent researches have collected only the following 
circumstances ; which, slight and imperfect as they are, may 
tend, in some degree, to illustrate the question of the popu- 
lousness of ancient Rome. I. When the capital of the em- 
pire was besieged by the Goths, the circuit of the walls was 
accurately measured, by Ammonius, the mathematician, 

«* See the dialogue of Lucian, entitled de Saltatione, torn, ii. pp. 2G5-317, edit. 
Keitz. The pantomimes obtained the honorable name of xfipcxroc^ot ; and it was 
required that they should be conversant with almost every art and science. Bu- 
rette (in the Memoires de I'Academie des Inscriptions, torn. i. p. 127, &c.) haa 
given a short history of the art of pantomimes. 

•55 Ammianus. \, xiv. c. 6. He complains, with decent indignation, that th© 
streets of Rome were filled with crowds of females, who might have given chil- 
dren to the state, but whose only occupation was to curl anddress their hair, and 
jac'tari volubillbus gyris, dum experimunt innumera simulacra, quae tinxere 
fabulie theatrales. 

•"5 Lipsius (torn. iii. p. 423, de Magnltud. Romana, 1. iii, c. 3) and Issac Vossiua 
(Observat. Var. pp. 2&-34) have indulged strange dreams, of four, or eight, or 
fourteen, millions in Rome. Mr. Hume (Essays, vol. i. pp. 450— 457\ with admira- 
ble good sense and skepticism, betrays some secret disposition to extenuate Iha 
populousucss of aucient times. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 33 

who foiuul it equal to twonty-oiic miles." It shoulrl not be 
forgotten tiiat tlie form of the city was almost tint of a 
circle; the geometrical figure which is known to contain the 
largest s])ace within any given circumference. II. The 
architect Vitruvius, who flourished in the Augustan gge, 
^mcl whose evidence, on this occasion, lias pecidiar weiglit 
and authority, observes, that the innumerable habitations of 
the Roman ])eo|)le would have spread themselves far beyond 
the narrow limits of the city; and that the want of ground, 
which w^as probably contracted on every side by gardens 
and villas, suggested the common, though inconvenient, 
practice of raising the houses to a considerable lieight in 
the air.^^ But the loftiness of these buildings, which often 
consisted of hasty work and insufhcient mateiials, was the 
cause of frequent and fatal accidents ; and it was repeatedly 
enacted by Augustus, as well as by Nero, that tlie height of 
private edifices within the walls of Rome, should not exceed 
the measure of seventy feet from the ground.*^^ III. Juve- 
nal '^^ laments, as it should seem from ins own experience, 
the hardships of the })oorer citizens, to whom he addresses 
the salutary advice of emigrating, without delay, from the 
smoke of Rome, since they might purchase, in the little 
towns of Italy, a cheerful commodious dwelling, at the same 
price which they annually paid for a dark and miserable 
lodging. House-rent was therefore immoderately dear : the 
rich acquired, at an enormous ex]>ense, the grvumd, which 
they covered with palaces and gardens; but the body of the 
Roman people was crowded into a narrow space; and the 
different floors, and apartments, of the same house, were 

67 OJymplodon ap. Phot, p- 107. See Fabrkius, Bibl. Gr:oc. torn, ix, p. 400. 
c3 la oaauteiu majestate urbis, et civiuin inlii)i.a freqvientia, i:uiumerabiles 
habitatloiies xjpas fuit exi>licare. F.rgo cum recipdvo p.oii jjosaet area plana tan- 
tani muititudiiiera in iirbe, ail auxiliuin alLitu dinis sedliliciorum res ipsa coegit 
devejiire. Vitruv. ii. 8. This passage, which I owe to Vossius, is clear, strong and 
cotnprehensive. 

•^J The successive testimonies of Pliny. Aristide^^, Claudian, Rutilius.&c, prove 
the insufficiency of thtse restiiclive edicts. See Lipsus, de MagniLud. Komana, 
1. iii. c. 4. 

Tabilata tibi jam tertia fumant ; 

Tu nescis ; nam si gradibus tvepidatar ab imis 
Ultimu;^ ardebit, quern tegula sola tuetur 
A pluvia. 

Juvenal. Satir. iii. 199. 

TO Road the wholo patire. but particularly 106, 22.3. &c. The depcription of a 
crowd.-d iM.sw.'a. or lodgin--house, in Petiouius (c. rs, 97), perfectly tallies with 
the complaints of Juvenal ; and we learn from legal authority, that, in the time 
of Augustus (lieineccius. Hist. Juris, I?omai\. c. iv. ]). ISl) the ordinary rei;t of 
tlie several coenncu'a, or apatments of an insti'a, annually produced forty thou- 
sand seat !rces. between three and four hundred pounds sterling <P;'nde< t. 1, xix. 
tit. ii. No. .30), a sum which proves at once the large extent, and high value, ol 
those coTimoii b'nldincs. 

YoL. III.— 3 



34 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

cliA'ided, as it is still the custom of Paris, and other cities, 
among several families of plebeians. IV. The total number 
of houses in the fourteen regions of the city, is accurately 
stated in t'le description of Rome, composed under the reign 
of Tlieodosius, and they amount to forty-eiglU thousand 
three hundred and eighty-two.'^ The two classes of domiis 
and of insula?^ into which they are divided, include all the 
habitations of the capital, of every rank and condition, from 
the marble palace of the Anicii, with a numerous establish- 
ment of freedmen and slaves, to the lofty and narrow lodg- 
ing-house, where the poet Codrus and his wife were permit- 
ted to hire a wretched garret immediately under the tiles. 
If we adopt the same average, which, under similar circum- 
stances, has been found applicable to Paris, '^^ and indiffer- 
ently allow about twenty-live persons for eacli house, of 
every degree, we may fairly estimate the inhabitants of 
Rome at twelve hundred thousand : a number which cannot 
be thought excessive for the capital of a mighty empire, 
though it exceeds the populousness of the greatest cities of 
modern Europe.'^ * 

^ This sum total is composed of 1780 damns, or great Louses, of 46,602 insiilcp, 
or plebeia I liabiratio:is (see Narclini,lioma Autica, l.iii.p.88) ; and these numbers 
are ascertained by the agreement of the texts of the dillerent Notitlce. Nardiui, 
1. viii. pp. 498-500. 

~'^ See that accurate writer M. de Messance, Recherclies sur la Population, pp. 
175-187. From i)r<'buble, or certain grounds, he a^sig]ls to Paris 23,565 houses, 
71,114 families, and 576,630 inhabitants. 

•^ This computation is not very dilTerent from that which M. Brotier, the last 
editor of Tacitus (torn. ii. p. 380), has as-umedfrom similar principles ; though 
he seems to aim at a degree of precision wliich it is neither possible nor import- 
ant to obtain. 



* M. Bureau de la Malle (Economie Politique des Romaines, t. i. p.' 369) quotes 
a passage from the xvth chapter of Gibbon, in wliich he estimates the population 
of Rome at not less than a million, and adds (omitting anj' reference to this pas- 
sage), that he (Gibbon) could not have seriously siudied the quc'stiou. M. Duroau 
dela Malle proceeds to argue that Rome, as contained within the wails oTServius 
Tullius, occupying an area only one-tifth of that of Paris, could not liave con- 
tained 300,000 inhabitants; within those of Aurelian not more than 560,000, iuv 
elusive of soldiers and strangers. The suburbs, he endeav(jrsto show, both up 
to the time of Aurelian, and after his reign, were neither so extensive, nor so 
populous, as generally supposed. i\I. Dureau de la Malle has but imperfectly 
quoted the important passage of Dioiiysus, that which proves that w^henhe wrote 
(in the time of Augustus) the walls of 'Servius no longer marketl the boundary of 
the city. In many places they were so built upon, that it was impossible to trace 
them. There was no certain limit, where the city ended and ceased to be tlie 
city ; it stretched out to so boundless an extent inio the country, ovx e^d ^t/Sato^ 

CTTj/utttot' ovcie!', (L Siayi'Jj<3-£TaL, /Ae;(pi ttov npo^aiyovcra »j poAis en ttoAis eaTi., /cal iroOiv 
upxeTai, fXTjKeTi. elyai ttovi? ovrui avvv(f>avraL tw acrrei tj x^P'^t '^'^*- ^'S antipov 
eKIxrjKvvoixivT]; jroAeu)? UTroArj^/zt^ T005 ^ew^e'voi? napex^Tai ei Se tw Tei;^ei, toj SvaevpeT(o 
ju-ef OPTI Sia rd; TreptAa/u./Sat'Oocra? aiiro 7roAAa;(7j0€i/ ot/crjoei?, eyytf 6e riva <^vAo.TTOfTi 
Kara. ttoAAoiis Kopov; >crj; ap;^at'a9 /ctrTacTKeufj? /SovAr/detr; fxcrpeiy avTr)y, k. t. X. Ant, 

JRom. iv- 13. None of M. de la Malle's arguments appear to me to prove, against 
this statement, that these irregular subuj-bs did not extend so fir in many parts, 
as to make it impossible to calcxilate accurately the inhabited area of the city. 
Though no doubt the city, as reconstructed by Nero, was much less closely built, 
and with many more open spaces for iJulaces, temples, and other public editices. 



OF THE ROMA^J- EMPIRE. ' 35 

Such was the state of Rome under the reign of Ilonorius, 
at the time when the Gothic army formed the siegp, or ratlier 
the blockade, of the city."''* By a skilful disposition of his 
numerous forces, who impatiently watched the moment of an 
assault, Alaric encompassed the walls, commanded the twelve 
principal gates, intercepted all communication with the 
adjacent country, and vigilantly guarded the navigation of 
the Tibeig, from which the Romans derived the surest and 
most plentiful su})ply of provisions. The first emotions of 
the nobles, and of the people, w^ere those of surprise and 
indignation, that a vile Barbarian should dare to insult the 
capital of the world : but their arrogance was soon humbled 
by misfortune; and their unmanly rage, instead of being 
directed against an enemy in arms, was meanly exercised on 
a defenceless and innocent victim. Perhaps in the person 
of Serena, the Romans might have respected the niece of 
Theodosius, the aunt, nay, even tlie adoptive mother, of 
the reigning emperor : but they abhorred the widow of Stili- 
cho ; and they listened with credulous passion to the tale of 
calumny, which accused her of maintaining a secret and 
criminal correspondence with the Gothic invader. Actuated, 
or overawed, by the same popular frenzy, the senate, without 
requiring any evidence of her guilt, pronounced the sentence 
of her death. Serena w^as ignominiously strangled ; and the 
infatuated multitude w^ere astonished to find, that this cruel 
act of injustice did not immediately produce the retreat of 
the Barbarians, and the deliverance of the city. That 

''* For the events of the first siege of Rome, which are often confounded with 
those of the second and third, see Zosinuis, 1'. v. pp. 380-354, Sozomen, 1. ix. c. 6, 
Olyinpiodorus, ap. Phot. p. 180, Philostorgius, 1- xii. c. 3, and Godefroy, Disscrtat. 
pp. 4G7-475. 



yet many passages seem to prove that the laws respecting tlie height of houses 
were not rigidly enforced. A great part of the lower, especially of the slave pop- 
\xlation, wore densely crowded, and lived, even more than in our modern towns, 
in cellars and subterranean dwellings under the public edifices. 

Nor do M. de la Malle's arguments, by which he would explain the insulfe (of 
which the Notitia; Urbis give us the number) as rows of shops, with a chamber or 
two within the domus, or houses of the wealthy, satisfy me as to their soundness 
or their scholarship. Some passages which he adduces directly contradict his 
theory ; none, as appears to me, distinctly prove it- I must adhere to the old in- 
terpretation of the word, as chiefly dwellings for the middling or lower classes, 
or clusters of tenemenls, of teu, perhaps, under the tame roof. 

On this point, Zumpt, in the Dissertation before quoted, entirely disagrees with 
M. de la Malle. Zumpt has likewise detected the mistake of M. de la Malle as to the 
" canon" of corn, mentioned in the life of Septimius Severus by Spartianus. On 
this canon the French writer calculates the inhabitants of Rome at that time. 
But the '' canon " was not the whole supply of Rome, but that quantity which the 
state required for the public granaries, to supply the gratuitous distributions to 
the people, and the public officers and slaves; no doubt likewise to keep down tho 
general price. M. Zumpt reckons the population of Rome at 2,000,000. After 
careful consideration, I should conceive the number iu the text, 1,200,000, to be 
nearest the truth.— M. 1845. • 



36 THE DECLIXE AND FALL 

unfortiin.ite city gradually experienced the distress of scnrcitv, 
and at length the horrid calamities of famine. The daily 
allowance of three pounds of bread was reduced to one-lialf, 
to one-third, to nothing; and the price of corn still continued 
to rise m a rapid and extravagant proportion. Tlie ]>oorer 
citizeirs, who were unable to purchase the necessaries of 
life, solicited the precarious charity of tlie ricli ; and for a 
while the public misery was alleviated by the humanity of 
Loeta, the widow of the emperor Gratian, who liad fixed her 
residence at Rome, and consecrated to tfie use of tl)e indigent 
the princely revenue which she annually received from the 
grateful successors of her husband.'-" But these private and 
temporary donatives were insufficient to appease the hunger 
of a numerous people ; and the progress of famine invaded 
the marble palaces of the senators themselves. The {'crsons 
of both sexes, who had been educated m the enjoyment of 
ease and luxury, discovered liow little is requisite to supply 
the demands of nature; and lavished their unavailing treasures 
of gold and silver, to obtain the coarse and scanty sustenance 
which they would formerly have rejected with disdain. The 
food the most repugnant to sense or imagination, the aliments 
the most unwholesome and pernicious to the constitution, 
were eagerly devoured, and fiercely disputed, by the rage of 
hunger. A dark suspicion was entertained, that some des- 
perate wretches fed on the bodies of their fellow-creatures, 
whom they had secretly murdered; and even mothers (such 
Avas the horrid conflict of the two most powerful instincts im- 
planted by nature in the human breast), even mothers are 
said to have tasted the flesh of their slaughtered infants!"® 
Many thousands of the inliabitants of Rome exj)ired in their 
houses or in the streets, for want of sustenance; and as the 
public sepulchres Avithout the walls were in the power of the 
enemy, the stench, winch arose from so many putrid and 
unburied carcasses, infected the air ; and the miseries of 
famine were succeeded and aix^Tavated by the contas^ion of 
a pestilential disease. The assurances of speedy and effect- 
ual relief, which were repeatedly transmitted from the court 

"5 The mother of Lteta was named Pissumeiia. Her father, family, and coun- 
try are unknown. Dueang^, Fam. Byzantium, p. 50. 

'5 Ad nefandos cibos erupit esurientiuin rabies, et sua invicem membra lania- 
rnnt, dum mater non pareit lactenti infantibe ; et recipit utero, quern paull6 ante 
elfuderat. Jerom. ad Friiicipiam. torn. i. p. 121. The same horrid circumsLance 
is likewise told of flie sieges of Jerusalem and Paris. For the latter, compare 
tlie tenth book of the Henriade, and the Journal de Henii IV. toni. i. pp. 47-83; 
and observe tliat a plain narrative of facts is much more pathetic than the most 
labored descriptions of ethic poetry. 



OF THE roma:n^ empire. 37 

of Ravenna, supported, for some time, the fainting resolution 
of tlie Romans, till at length the despair of arly human aid 
tempted them to accept the offers of a prjeternatural 
deliverance. Pompeianus, prfefect of the citv, had been per- 
suaded, by the art or fanaticism of some Tuscan diviners, 
that, by tlie mysterious force of spells and sacrifices, they 
could extract the lightning from the clouds, and point those 
celestial fires against the camp of the Barbarians.'^' The im- 
portant secret was communicated to Innocent, the bishop of 
Rome ; and the successor of St. Peter is accused, perhaps 
with foundation, of preferring the safety of the republic to 
the rigid severity of tlie Christian woi'ship. But when the 
question was agitated in the senate ; when it was proposed, 
as an essential condition, that those sacrifices should be per- 
formed in the Capitol, by the authoi-ity, and in tlie presence, 
of the magistrates, the majority of that respectable assembly, 
apprehensive either of tlie Divine or of the Imperial dis- 
pleasure, refused to join in an act, which appeared almost 
equivalent to the public restoration of Pagan ism. "^^ 

The last resource of the Romans was in the clemency, or 
at least in the moderation, of the king of the Goths. Tlie 
senate, who in this emergency assumed the supreme powers 
of government, appointed two ambassadors to negotiate with 
the enemy. This important trust was delegated to Basilius, 
a senator, of Spanish extraction, and already consj^icuous in 
the administration of provinces; and to John, tiie first tri- 
bune of the notaries, who was peculiarly qualified, by his 
dexterity in business, as well as by his former intimacy with 

" Zosimns(l. v. pp. 355, 3,"G) speaks of these ceremonies like a Greek vtiiac- 
quainted wilh the national superstition of Rome and Tuscany. I suspect that 
they consi ted of two parts, the secret ai^d the ))nl)lic ; the form!er were probably 
an imitation of the arts and spells by which Xuma had drawn down Jupiter and 
his thunder on Mount Aventine. 

Quid acjant laqueis, qua? carmine dicant, 

Qnaque trahanf superis sedibus arte Joveiu, 
Scire nefas homini.* 

The a?)c/itrt,or sliichls of ]\Iars, the pinnora /myxr/i, which were carried in sol- 
e un i)rocestiioa oj» the calends of March, derived their origin from this mysteri- 
ous event (Ovid. Fast. i;i. 2")0-."98). It was probablv designed to revive this an- 
cient festival, which had been suppressed by Theo<lo ius. In that case, we re- 
cover a chronological date (March the Ist, A.' D. 409) which has not hitherto been 
obs3rved. 

"^ So".o:nen (1. ix. c. 6) insinuates that the experiment was actually, though 
unsicce sfully, mndo ; but he does not menti n the name of Innocent ; aji<l Tille- 
mont ( viem. Ecclcs. tom. x. j>. CATy) is determined not to believe that a pope could 
be guilty of such impious condescension. 



* On the curious question of tlie knowledjre of conducting lightning, possessed 
by the ancients, consult Eusebe Sulverte, des Sciences OcculttJS, c. xxiv. Paris, 
1829.-M. 



38 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

the Gothic prince. When they were introduced into his 
presence, they declared, perhaps in a more lofty style than 
became their abject condition, that the Romans Avere resolved 
to maintain their dignity, either in peace or war ; and that, 
if Alaric refused them a fair and honorable capitulation, he 
might sound his trumpets, and prepare to give battle to an 
innumerable people, exercised in arms, and animated by de- 
spair. "The thicker tl^e hay, the easier it is mowed," was 
the concise reply of the Barbarian ; and this rustic metaphor 
was accompanied by a loud and insulting laugh, expressive 
of his contempt for the menaces of an unwarlike populace, 
enervated by luxury before they were emaciated by famine. 
He then condescended to fix the ransom, which he would 
accept as the price of his retreat from the walls of Rome : 
all the gold and silver in the city, whether it were the prop- 
erty of the state, or of individuals ; all the rich and precious 
movables ; and all the slaves who could prove their title to 
the name of Barharians. The ministers of the senate pre- 
sumed to ask, in a modest and suppliant tone, *'If such, O 
king, are your demands, Avhat do you intend to leave us?" 
"Your lives!" replied the haughty conqueror : they trem- 
bled, and retired. Yet, before they retired, a shoit suspension 
of arms was granted, which alloAved some time for a more 
temperate negotiation. The stern features of Alaric Avere 
insensibly relaxed ; he abated much of the rigor of liis terms ; 
and at length consented to raise the siege, on the immediate 
payment of five thousand pounds of gold, of thirty thousand 
pounds of silver, of four thousand robes of silk, of three thou- 
sand pieces of fine scarlet cloth, and of three thousand pounds 
weight of pepper."^^ But the public treasury was exhausted ; 
the annual rents of the great estates in Italy and the prov- 
inces, were intercepted by the calamities of war; the gold 
and gems had been exchanged, during the famine, for tlie 
vilest sustenance; the hoards of secret wealth were still con- 
cealed by the obstinacy of avarice ; and some remains of 
consecrated spoils afforded the only resource that could avert 
the impending ruin of the city. As soon as the Romans had 
satisfied the rapacious demands of Alaric, they were restored, 
in sftme measure, to the enjoyment of peace and j^lenty. 

79 Pepper was a favorite ingredient of the most expensive Roman cookery, 
and the best sort commonly sold for fifteen denarii, or ten shillings, tlie pound. 
See Pliny, Hist. Natur. xii. 14. It was brought from India ; and the same coun- 
try, the coast uf Malabar, still affords the greatest plenty ; but the improvement 
of ti-ade and navigation has multiplied the quantity and reduced the price. See 
Mistoire Politique et Philosophique, &c. torn. i. p. 457. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 39 

Several of the gates were cautiously opened ; the importation 
of provisions from the river and the adjacent country was 
no longer obstructed by the Goths ; tlie citizens resorted in 
crowds to the free market, which was held during tln-ee days 
in the suburbs; and while the mercliants who undertook 
this gainful trade made a considerable j)rofit, the future 
subsistence of the city was secured by the ample magazines 
wliich were deposited in the public and private granaries. 
A moi-e regular discipline than could have been expected, 
was maintained in tlie camp of Alaric ; and tlie wise Bar- 
barian justified his regard for tlie faitli of treaties, by the 
just severity with which he chastised a party of licentious 
Goths, who had insulted some Roman citizens on the road 
to Ostia. His army, enriched by the contributions of the 
capital, slowly advanced into the fair and fruitful province 
of Tuscany, where he })roposed to establish his winter quar- 
ters ; and the Gothic standard became the refuge of forty 
thousand Barbarian slaves, who liad broke their chains, and 
fispired, under the command of their groat deliverer, to 
revenge the injuries and the disgrace of their cruel servitude. 
About the same time, he received a more honorable reen- 
forcement of Goths and Huns, whom AdoIphus,^°the brother 
of his wife, had conducted, at liis pressing invitation, from 
the banks of the Danube to those of the Tiber ; and who 
had cut their way, with some difficulty and loss, through the 
superior numbers of the Imperial troops. A victorious 
leader, who united the daring spirit of a Barbarian with the. 
art and discipline of a Roman general, was at the head of a 
hundred thousand fighting men ; and Italy })ronounced, with 
terror and respect, the formidable name of Alaric.^^ 

At the distance of fourteen centuries, we may be satis- 
fied with relating the military exploits of the conquerors of 
Rome, without presuming to investigate the motives of 
their political conduct. In the midst of his apparent pros- 
perity, Alaric was conscious, perhaps, of some secret weak- 
ness, some internal defect ; or perhaps the moderation which 
he displayed, was intended only to deceive and disarm the 
easy credulity of the ministers of Ilonorius. The king of 
the Goths repeatedly declared, that it was his desire to be 

80 This Gotliic chieftain is caUed by Jonmndes n.ndJs'u\ore, Afhaulphus ; by 
Zosimus and Orosiiis, Afanfj>/ius : and by Olympiodorus, AfJaouljilnis. I havo 
used tlie celebrated name of Adoli)lius, which seems to be authorized by the prac/- 
tice of the Swedes, the sons or brothers of the ancient Goths. 

81 Tlie treaty between Alaric and the Romans, &c., is taken from Zosimus, 1 
V. pp. o5l, 355, ".'JSS, 359, 362, 3()3. The additional circumstances are too few ana 
trifling to require any other quotation. 



40 THE DECLIXE AN'D FALI^ 

« 

considered as the friend of peace, and of the Komanis. 
Three senators, at his earnest request, were sent ambassadors 
to the court of Ravenna, to solicit the excliange of liostages, 
and tlie conclusion of the treaty ; and the proposals, which 
he more clearly expressed during the course of the negotia- 
tions, could only inspire a doubt of his sincerity, as they 
might seem inadequate to the state of his. fortune. The 
Barbarian still aspired to the rank of master-general of the 
armies of the West ; he stipulated an annual subsidy of corn 
and money ; and he chose the provinces of Dalmatia, ISTori- 
cum, and Venetia, for the seat of his iiew kingdom, which 
would have commanded the important communication 
between Italy and the Danube. If these modest terms 
should be rejected, Alaric showed a disposition to relinquish 
his pecuniary demands, and even to content himself with 
the possession of Noricum ; an exhausted and impoverished 
country, perpetually ex])oscd to the inroads of the Barba- 
rians of Gei-many." But the hopes of peace were disap- 
pointed by the Avcak obstinacy, or interested views, of the 
minister Olympius. Without listening to the salutary re- 
monstrances of the senate, he dismissed their ambassadors 
under the conduct of a military escort, too numerous for a 
retinue of honor, and too feeble for an army of defence. Six 
thousand Dalmatians, the Hower of the Imperial legions, 
were ordered to march from Ravenna to Rome, through an 
open country Avhich was occupied by the formidable myriads 
of the Barbarians. These brave legionaries, encompassed 
and betrayed, fell a sacrifice to ministerial folly ; their gen- 
eral, Valens, with a hundred soldiers, escaped from the lield 
of battle ; and one of the ambassadors, who could no longer 
claim the protection of the law of nations, was obliged to 
purchase his freedom with a ransom of thirty thousand 
pieces of gold. Yet Alaric, instead of resenting this act of 
impotent hostility, immediately renewed his proposals of 
peace ; and the second embassy of the Roman senate, Avhich 
derived weight and dignity from the presence of Innocent, 
bishop of the ,city, was guarded from the dangers of the 
road by a detachment of Gothic soldiers.*^^ 

Olympius ^■^ might have continued to insult the just re- 
sentment of a people who loudly accused him as the author 

^2 Zosimus, 1. Y. pp. 3G7, 368, 369. 

83 Zosimus, 1. V. pp. 3G0, oGl. 362. Tliebisliop, by remaining at Ravenna, escaped 
the iiupendiug calamities of the city. Orosius, 1. vii. c. 39, p 573. 

s* For the adveiitmes of Olympius, and his successors in the ministry, seeZo 
Fimus 1. Y. pp. 3^3, 365, 366, and Olympiodor. ap. Phot. pp. 180, ISl. 



OF THE ROMAX EMPIRE. 41 

of the public calamities ; but his power was undermined by 
the secret intrigues of the palace. The favorite eunuchs 
transferi'cd the government of Honorius, and the en.j)ire, to 
Jovius, the Prictorian prasfect ; an unwortliy ser\ ant, who 
did not atone, by the merit of personal attaclnnent, for the 
errors and misfortunes of his administration. The exile, or 
escape, of the guilty Olympius, reserved him for more vicis- 
situdes of fortune : lie experienced the adventures of an 
obscure and wandering life ; he again rose to power ; he fell 
a second time into disgrace; his ears were cut off; he ex- 
pired under the lasli ; and liis ignominious death afforded a 
grateful spectacle to the friends of Stilicho. After the re- 
moval of Olympius, whose character was deeply tainted 
with religious fanaticism, the Pagans and lieretics were de- 
livered fromtlic impolitic proscription, which excluded them 
frem the dignities of the state. The brave Gennerid,^^ ii 
soldier of Barbarian origin, who still adhered to the worship 
of his ancestors, had been obliged to lay aside the military 
belt: and though he was repeatedly assured by the emperor 
himself, that laws were not made for persons of his rank or 
merit, he refused to accept any partial dispensation, and 
perse\ered in honorable disgrace, till he had extorted a 
general act of justice from the distress of the Roman govern- 
ment. Tlie conduct of Gennerid, in the important stati(m 
to which he was promoted or restored, of master-general of 
Dalmatia, Panuonia, Noricum, and Rha3tia, seemed to re- 
vive the discij:)line and spirit of therepul)lic. From a life of 
idleness and want, his ti-oops were soon habituated to severe 
exercise and ])lentiful subsistence; and his private generosity 
often supplied the rewards, which were denied by the 
avarice, or poverty, of the court of Ravenna. The valor of 
Gennerid, formidal)le to the adjacent Barbarians, was the 
firmest bulwark of the Illyrian frontier ; and his vigilant 
care assisted the empire with a reenforcement of ten thou- 
sand Huns, who ari'ivcd on the confines of Italy, attended 
by such a convoy of provisions, and such a numerous train 
of sheep and oxen, as might have been sufiicient, not only 
for the march of an army, but for the settlement of a colony. 
But the court and councils of Ilonorius stiil remained a 
scene of weakness and distraction, of corruption and an- 

fs Zosimus (1. V. p. 364) relates this (ircnmstance willi visiblo coni'laceiioy 
and celcbratos Uio tliarac ter <-f Ceiinciid as the lar.t floiy of expiring Fa.'-ainsiT.. 
Very (liffereut were the seiitinioiits of the council of ('arthafje, v.h.o (le-mtcd four 
bishops to the co-^rt ot I aveiina, 1o ( oinplnin of tliC law, v.hicli l'?.d been ji'.sl en- 
acted, that all conversions to ( luistianity yhonld be free and voluntary. fcJeeBfV- 
rouius, Annal. Eccles. A. D. 409, No. 12, A. D. 410, No. 47, 48. 



42 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

nrcliy. Instigated b}^ the ])ra3fect Jovins, tlie gnaras rose 
ill furious mutiny, and demanded the lieads of two generals, 
and of the two principal enuchs. The generals, under a 
perfidious promise of safety, were sent on shipboard, and 
l)rivately executed ; m hile the favor of the eunuchs pro- 
cured them a mild and secure exile at Milan and Constanti- 
nople. Eusebius the eunuch, and the Barbarian Allobich, 
succeeded to the command of the bed-chamber and of the 
guards ; and the mutual jealousy of these subordinate min- 
isters was the cause of their mutual destruction. By the 
insolent order of the count of the domestics, the great cham- 
berlain was shamefully })eaten to death- with sticks, before 
the eyes of the astonished emperor ; and the subsequent 
assassination of Allobich, in the midst of a public procession, 
is the only circumstance of his life, in ^vhich Ilonorius dis- 
covered tlie faintest symptom of courage or resentment. 
Yet before they fell, Eusebius and Allobich had contributed 
their part to the ruin of the empire, by o};posing the con- 
clusion of a treaty which Jovius, from a selfish, and jerliaps 
a criminal, motive, had negotiated with Alaric, in a personal 
interview under the walls of Rimini. During the absence 
of Jovius, the emperor was persuaded to assume a lofty 
tone of inflexible dignity, such as neither his situation, nor his 
character, could enable him to support; and a letter, signed 
with the name of Honorius, was immediately despatched to 
the Pi'aetorian praifect, granting him a free permission to dis- 
pose of the public money, but sternly refusing to prostitute the 
military honors of Rome to the proud den:ands of a Barba- 
rian. This letter was imprudently communicated to Alaric 
liimself ; and the Goth, who in the whole transaction had be- 
haved with temper and decency, expressed, in the most out- 
rageous language, his lively sense of the insult so w^antonly 
offered to his person and to his nation. The confer- 
ence of Rimini was hastily interrupted ; and the proefect 
Jovius, on his return to Ravenna, was com])elled to adopt, 
and even to encourage, the fashionable opinions of the court. 
By his advice and example, the principal officers of the state 
and army w^ere obliged to swear, that, without listening, in 
any circumstances, to any conditions of peace, they w ould 
still persevere in perpetual and implacable war against the 
enemy of the republic. This rash engagement opposed an 
insuperable bar to all future negotiation. The ministers of 
Ilonorius ^vere heard to declare, that if they had only in- 
voked the name of the Deity, they Avould consult the i)ublic 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 43 

safety, nncT trust their souls to the mercy of Heaven : but 
tliey liad swo'rn by the sacred head of the emperor Inmself ; 
tliey had touclied, in solemn ceremony, that august seat of 
majesty and wisdom ; and the violation of their oath would 
expose them to the temporal penalties of sacrilege and re- 
bellion.^*' 

While the emperor and his court enjoyed, with sullen 
pride, the security of the marshes and fortifications of Ra- 
venna, they abandoned Ttorne, almost without defence, to 
the resentment of Alaric. Yet such was the moderation 
which he still preserved, or affected, that, as he moved with 
his army along the Flaminian way, he successively de- 
Fpatche<I the bishops of the towns of Italy to reiterate his 
oifers of peace, and to conjure the emperor, that he would 
save the city and its inhabitants from hostile fire, and the 
sword of the Barbarians." These im})ending calamities were, 
liowever, averted, not indeed by the Avisdom of llonorius, 
but by the prudence or humanity of the Gothic king ; who 
employed a milder, though not less effectual, method of con- 
quest. Instead of assauUing the capital, he successfully di- 
rected his efforts against the Port of Ostia, one of the boldy 
est and most stu])endous works of Roman magnificence.^^ 
The accidents to which the precarious subsistence of the city 
was continually exposed in a winter navigation, and an oi)en 
road, had suggested to the genius of the first Caesar the use- 
ful design, wliich was executed under the reign of Claudius. 
The artificial moles, which formed the narrow entrance, ad- 
vanced far into the sea, and firmly repelled the fury of the 
waves, while the largest A^essels securely rode at anchor 
within three deep and capacious basins, which received the 
northern branch of the Tiber, about two miles from the an- 
cient colony of Ostia.^^ The Roman J^or^ insensibly swelled 

86 Zosimus, 1. V. pp. 3G7, 3G8, 3G9. Tliis custom of swearing by the head, or life, 
or safety, or genius, of the sovereign, was of the liighest antiquity, both in Egypt 
(Genesis, xlii. 15) and Scythia. It was soon transferred, by flattery, totlic Csesars; 
and Tertullian complains that it was the only oath which the Romans of his 
time affected to reverence. See an elegant Dissertation of the Abbe Massieu on 
the Oaths of the Ancients, in Mem. de 1' Academic des Inscriptions, torn. i. pp. 
208, 2t.t<J. 

«■' Zosimns, 1. v. pp. 308, 3G0. I have softened the expressions of Alaric, who 
expatiates, in too florid a manner, on the history of Rome. 

^^ See Suevon. in Claud, c. 20. Dion Ca.ssius, 1. Ix. p. 049, edit. Reimar, and 
the lively description of Juvenal, Satir. xii. 75, &c. In tbe sixteenili century, 
when the remains of this Augustan port wore still visible, the antiquarians 
Bketciied the plan (see D'AnviUe, Mem. de 1 'Academic des Inscriptions, torn. 
XXX. p. 198), and declared, with enthusiasm, that all tlift monarchs of Kurope 
would be unable to execute so great a work (Bergier, Hist, des grando Chemiiis 
des Roniains. torn. ii. p. a5(i). 

*='J Ostia Tiberina (see Cluver. Italia Antiq. 1. iii. pp. 870-879), in the plural 
number, the two moutha of the Tiber, were separated by the Holy Island, aa 



44 THE decli:n^e and fall 

to the size of an episcopal city, ^^ Avhcrc t!io corn of Africa 
was deposited in t^pncioiis granaries for t!ie use of the ca;;:tal. 
As sroon as Alarie vras i-i possession of that ini])ortant] lace, 
lie siininioned the city to surrender at discretion ; and liis 
demands were enforced by the positive dechiration, tliat a 
refusal, or even a delay, should be instantly followed by the 
destruction of the magazines, on wliicli tlie life of tlie Roman 
people depended. Tlie clamors of that j-)eople, and the ter- 
ror of famine, subdued the pride of tlie senate ; tliey listened, 
without reluctance, to the proposal of ])lacing a new emperor 
on the tlirone of tlie unworthy Ilonorins : and the suffra<XG 
of the Gothic conqueror bestowed the purple on Attains, 
proefect of tlie city. The grateful monarch immediately ac- 
knowleds^ed liis protector as master-general of the armies of 
the \Yest ; Adolplius, Avitli the rank of count of the domes- 
tics, obtained the custody of the person of Attains ; and the 
two hostile nations seemed to be united in tlie closest bands 
of friendship and alliance.^^ 

The gates of tlie city were thrown open, and the new em- 
peror of the Romans, encomp.assed on every side by the 
Gothic arms, vras conducted, in tumultuous pi'ocession, to the 
palace of Augustus and Trajan. After he had distributed 
the civil and military dignities among his favorites and fol- 
lowers, Attains con\'ene(l an assembly of the senr.te ; before 
whom, in a formal and llorid speecli, he asserted his resoki 
tion of restoring the majesty of the republic, and of uniting 
to the empire the j^rovinces of Egypt and the East, which 

equilateral triangle, whose sides -were each of them computed at about two miles 
The colony of Ooiia was founded immediately beyond the left, or iioutliern, and 
the Port immediately beyond the ri^ht, or noriheni, branch of Ihe liver; and 
the distance between their remains measures something more than two miles on 
Cingolauis map. In ihe time of Strabo, the tand and mud deposited by the 
Tiber had < hoked the harbor of Ostia ; the progress of the same cause has added 
much to tbe size of the lioly laland, and graduall v left both Ostia an, I tb.e i'ort 
at a considerable distance from the shore. The dry i" hannels (liumi morti) and 
the large estuaries (stagno di Ponente, di Levante) mark the cbanges of the river, 
and the efforts of tlie sea. Consult, for the present state of this dreary ar-<l des- 
olate tract, the excellent map of the ecclesiastical s ate by the mathematicians 
of Benedict XIV. ; an actual survey of the Ajro llomano, in six sheets, by Cingo- 
lani, which contains 113,819 rubbla ^about 570,000 acres) ; and the large topograph- 
ical map of Ameti. in ei-;ht sheets. 

"-^ As early iis the third (Lardner's Credi'-ility of the Gospel, part ii. vol. iii. 
pp. SO-ii^"), or at least the fourth, century (Cand. a Sancta Paulo, Kotit. Eccle.'. 
p. 47), th-i Port of Rome was an episcoprd city, whi.h v.as demolished, ns ft should 
seem, ia tha niiiih century, by Pope Grecory IV., during the incursioi? of the 
Arabs. It is now reduced to an inn, a church, and tlie liouse. or pnlaco. of the 
bi.shop, who ranks as one of six cardinal-l)ishopH of the Koman church. See 
Zschinard, Descrizione di Kwma et dell' Agro Poniano, p. o2S.* 

-1 For the elevation of Attains, consult Zosimus 1. vi. pp. . "77-3^0, Sozom;^n, 
1. ix. c. 8, 9. Olympiodor. ap. Pliot. pp. lu?, 181, Philos. lorg. 1. xii. c. 3, and Gode- 
fruy, Dissertat". p. 470. 



Compare Sir "W. Gell, Rome and its Vicinity, vol. ii. p. 13-1.— M. 



02 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 45 

had once ackiiowledged tlie sovereignty of Rome. Such ex- 
trpvvagant promises inspired cvciy reasonable citizen villi a 
just contempt for the character of an unwarlike usiir])er, 
whose elevation was tlie deepest and most ignominious 
wound wliicli the re[)ublic liad yet sustained from the inso- 
lence of the Barbarians. But the populace, with tlieir usual 
levity, applauded the change of masters. The public discon- 
tent was favorable to the rival of Ilonorius ; and the secta- 
ries, oppressed by his persecuting edicts, expected some de- 
gree of countenance, or at least of toleration, from a prince, 
who, in his native country of Ionia, liad been educated in 
the Pagan superstition, and M'ho bad since received tlie sac 
rnment of baptism from the hands of an Arian bishop.^ 
The first days of the reign of Attains were fair and prosper- 
ous. An officer of confidence was sent with an inconsider- 
able body of troops to secure the obedience of Africa, the 
greatest part of Italy submitted to the terror of the Gothic 
powers ; and though the city of Bologna made a vigorous 
and effectual resistance, the people of Milan, dissatisfied per- 
haps with the absence of Honorius, accepted, wdth loud ac- 
clamations, tlie choice of the Roman senate. At the head 
of a formidable army, Alaric conducted his royal captive al- 
most to the gates of Ravenna; and a solemn embassy of the 
principal ministers, of Jovius, the Praetorian praefect, of 
Valens, master of the cavalry and infantry, of the quaestor 
Potamius, and of Julian, the first of the notaries, was intro- 
duced, with martial pomp, into the Gothic camp. In the 
name of their sovereign, they consented to acknowledge the 
lawful election of his competitor, and to divide the provinces 
of Italy and the West between the two emperors. Their 
proposals were rejected with disdain ; and the refusal was 
aggravated by the insulting clemency of Attalus, who con- 
descended to i)romise that, if Ilonorius would instantly re- 
sign the pur])]e, he should be permitted to pass the remain- 
der of his life in the peaceful exile of some remote island.®^ 
So desperate indeed did the situation of the son of Theodo- 
sius appear, to those who were the best acquainted with his 
strength and resources, that Jovius and Valens, his minister 

" We may admit the evidence of Sozo:-nen for the Arian baptism, and that of 
Philostoi-frius for the Pagan education, of Attains. The visible joy of Zosimus, 
and the discontent whi( h he imputes to the Anician family, are very unfavora- 
ble to the Christianity of the new emperor. 

'"' lie carried his insolence so far, as to declare that he ehould mutilate Ilono- 
rius before he sent him into exil'^. But this assertion of Zosimus is destroyed 
by the more impartial testimony of Olympiodorus, who attributes the ungener- 
ous proposal (which was nbsolutely rejected by Attalus) to the baseness, and per- 
ha,pa the treachery, of Joviiui, 



46 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

and his general, betrayed their trust, infamously deserted 
tlie sinking cause of their benefactor, and devoted their 
treacherous allegiance to the service of his more fortunate 
rival. Astonished by such examples of domestic treason, 
Ilonorius trembled at the approach of every servant, at the 
arrival of every messencrer. He dreaded the secret enemies 
who might lurk in his capital, his palace, his bed-chamber ; 
and some shi])s lay ready in the harbor of Ravenna, to trans- 
port the al)dicated monarch to the dominions of his infant 
nephew, the emperor of the East. 

But there is a Providence (such at least was the opinion 
of the historian Procopius) ^^ that watches over innocence 
and folly ; and the pretensions of Ilonorius to its peculiar 
care cannot reasonably be disputed. At the moment when 
his despair, inca])able of any wise or manly resolution, med- 
itated a shameful flight, a seasonable reenforcement of four 
thousand veterans unexpectedly landed in the port of Ra- 
venna. To these valiant strangers, whose fidelity had not 
been corrupted by the factions of the court, he committed 
the walls and gates of the city ; and the slumbers of the em- 
peror Avere no longer disturbed by the apjjrehension of im- 
minent and internal danger. The favorable intelligence 
which was received from Africa suddenly changed the opin- 
ions of men, and the state of public affairs. The troops and 
officers, whom Attains had sent into that province, were de- 
feated and slain ; and the active zeal of Heraclian maintained 
his OAvn allegiance, and that of his people. The faithful 
count of Africa transmitted a large sum of money, which 
fixed the attachment of the Imperial guards ; and his vigi- 
lance, in preventing the exportation of corn and oil, intro- 
duced famine, tumult, and discontent, into the walls of 
Rome. The failure of the African expedition was the source 
of mutual complaint and recrimination in the party of At- 
tains ; and the mind of his protector was insensibly alienated 
from the interest of a prince, who wanted s])iritto command, 
or docility to obey. The most imprudent measures Avere 
adopted, without the knowledge, or against the advice, of 
Alaric ; and the obstinate refusal of the senate, to allow, in 
the embarkation, the mixture even of five hundred Goths, 
betrayed a suspicious and distrustful temper, which, in their 
situation, was neither generous nor prudent. The resent- 
ment of the Gothic king was exasperated by the malicious 
arts of JoviuSj who had been raised to the rank of patrician, 

w Procop. de Bell. Vandal. 1. i. c. 2. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 47 

and who afterwards excused his double perfidy, by declaring, 
without a blush, that he had only seemed to abandon the 
•service of Honorius, more effectually to ruin the cause of 
the usurper. In a large plain near Rimini, and in the pres- 
ence of an innumerable multitude of Romans and Barba- 
rians, the wretched Attains was publicly des])oiled of the 
diadem and purple ; and those ensigns of royalty were sent 
by Alaric, as the pledge of peace and friendship, to the son 
of Theodosius.^^ The officers who returned to their duty, 
Avere reinstated in their employments, and even the merit of 
a tardy repentance was graciously allowed ; but the degraded 
emperor of the Romans desirous of life, and insensible of 
disgrace, implored the permission of following the Gothic 
camp, in the train of a haughty and capricious Barbarian.^^ 
The degradation of Attains removed the only real ob- 
stacle to the conclusion of the peace ; and Alaric advanced 
within three miles of Ravenna, to press the irresolution of 
the Imi)erial ministers, whose insolence soon returned with 
the return of fortune. His indignation was kindled by the 
report, that a rival chieftain, that Sarus, the personal en- 
emy of Adolphus, and the hereditary foe of the house of 
Balti, had been received into the palace. At the head of 
three hundred followers, that fearless Barbarian imme- 
diately sallied from the gates of Ravenna ; surprised, and 
cut in j)ieces, a considerable body of Goths ; reentered the 
city in triumph ; and was permitted to insult his adversary, 
by the voice of a herald, who publicly declared that the 
guilt of Alaric had forever excluded him from the friend- 
ship and alliance of the emperor.^'^ The crime and folly of 
the court of Ravenna was expiated, a third time, by the 
calamities of Rome. The king of the Goths, who no longer 
dissembled his appetite for plunder and revenge, appeared 
in arms under the walls of the capital ; and the trembling 
senate, without any hopes of relief, ])repared, by a desperate 
resistance, to delay the ruin of their country. But they 
were unable to guard against the secret conspiracy of their 
slaves and domestics ; who, either from birth or interest, 

•5 See the cause and circumstances of the fall of Attains in Zosimue, 1. vi. pp. 
380-383. Sozomen, 1. ix. c. 8. Philostorg. 1. xii. c. 3. The two acts of indemnity 
in the Theodosian Code, 1. ix. tit. xxxviii. leg. 11, 12, which were published the 
r2th of February, and the 8th of August, A. 1>. 410, evidently relate to this 
usurper. 

'-« In lioc, Alaricus, imperatore. facto, infecto, refeeto, ac defect© .... Mira- 
um risit, et ludum spectavit imperii. Orosius, 1. vii. c. 42, p. .582. 

57 Zosinius, 1. vi. p. 3>4. Sozomen, 1. ix. c. 9. Philostorgius, 1. xii. c. 3. In 
this place the text of ZoBimus is mutilated, and we have lost the remainder of 
his sixth and last book, which ended with the sack of Rome. Credulous and par- 
tial U3 he is, we must take our leave of that historian with some regret. 



48 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

were nttacherl to tlie cause of the enemy. At tlie hour of 
niidniglit, the Salarian gnte was silently opened, and the 
inhabitants were awakened by the tremendous sound of the 
Gothic trumpet. Eleven hundred and sixty-three years 
after the foundation of Rome, the Imperial city, which had 
subdued and civilized so considerable a part of mankind, 
was delivered to the licentious fury of the tribes of Germany 
and Scythia.^« 

The proclamation of Alnric, when he forced his entrance 
into a vanquished city, discovered, however, some ]'e2:ard 
for the laws of humanity and reliction. He encouraged his 
troops boldly to seize the rewards of valor, and to enrich 
themselves with the spoils of a wealthy and effeminate peo- 
ple ; but he exhorted them, at the same time, to spare the 
lives of the unresisting citizens, and to res])ect the churches 
of the apostles, St. Peter and St. Paul, as holy and inviola- 
ble sanctuaries. Amidst the horrors of a nocturnal tumult, 
sevei-al of the Chi-istian Goths displayed the fervor of a re- 
cent conversion; and some instances of their uncommon 
piety and moderation are related, and ])erhaps adorned, by 
the zeal of ecclesiastical writers.^^ While the Barbarians 
roamed through the city in quest of prey, the humble dwel- 
ling of an aged virgin, who had devoted her life to the ser- 
vice of the altar, was forced open by one of the powerful 
Goths. lie immediately demanded, though in civil lan- 
guage, all the gold and silver in her possession ; and was 
astonished at the readiness with which she conducted him 
to a splendid hoard of massy plate, of the richest materials, 
and the most curious worknumship. The Barbarian viewed 
with wonder and delight this valuable acquisition, till he 
was interrupted by a serious admonition, addressed to liim 
in the following words : '' These," said she, " are the con- 
secrated vessels belonging to St. Peter ; if you jDresume to 

ssAdestAlaricTis, trepidam Romamobsidet^ turbat, irrumpit. Orosius, 1. vii. c. 
30, p. 573. He despatches this greateventin seven words ; but he employs wholo 
pages ill celebrating tlie devotion of the Goths. I have extracted, from an im- 
probable story of Px-ocopius, the circumstances which had an air of probaLilitj'. 
Procop. de Bell. Vandul. 1. i. c. 2. He supposes that the city was surprised wliile 
the senators slept in the afternoon ; but Jerom, with more autliority and more 
rea on, affirms, that it was in the night, nocte Moab capta est; nocte cecidit 
munis ejus, toin. i. p. 121, ad Principiam. 

'•>■•' OrosiuB (1. vii. c. 30, pp. 573-.'576) applauds Ih? piety of the Christ ian Goths, 
witiiout seeming to perceive tliat the greatest part of them were Arian heretics. 
Jornandes (o. 30. p. 653') and Isidore of Seville (Chron. p. 417, edit. Grot.V who 
were both attached to the Gothic cause, have i-epeated nnd embellished these 
edifying talc^. According to Isidore, Alaric himself was heard to say, that he 
waged war with the Roinans, and not with the apo.stlea. Such was the style of 
tho's'iventh century; two hundred years before, the fame and merit had been 
ascribed, not to the apostles, but to Christ. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 49 

touch them, tlie sacrilegious deed will remain on 3''our con- 
science. For my part, I dare not keep what I am unable 
to defend.'* The Gothic ca})tain, struck with reverential 
awe, despatched a messenger to inform the king of the 
treasure which he had discovered ; and received a peremp- 
tory order from Alaric, that all the consecrated plate and 
ornaments should be transported, without damage or delay, 
to the church of the ajiostle. From the extremity, perhaps, 
of the Quirinal hill, to the distant quarter of the Vatican, a 
numerous detachment of Goths, marching in order of bat- 
tle through the principal streets, protected, with glitter- 
ing arms, tlie long train of their devout companions, who 
bore aloft, on their heads, the sacred vessels of gold and 
silver; and the martial shouts of the Barbarians were min- 
gled with the sound of religious psalmody. From all the ad- 
jacent houses, a crowed of Christians hastened to join this 
edifying procession ; and a multitude of fugitives, without 
distinction of age, or rank, or even of sect, had the good 
fortune to escape to the secure and hospitable sanctuary of 
the Vatican. The learned work, concerning the Citi/ of 
God, was professedly composed by St. Augustin, to justify 
the ways of Providence in the destruction of the Roman 
greatness. He celebrates, with peculiar satisfaction, this 
memorable triumph of Christ ; and insidts his adversaries, 
by challenging them to produce some similar example of a 
town taken by storm, in which the fabulous gods of antiq- 
uity had been able to protect either themselves or their 
deluded votaries. ^^'^ 

In the sack of Rome, some rare and extraordinary ex- 
amples of Barbarian virtue have been deservedly applauded. 
But the holy precincts of the Vatican, and the apostolic 
-churches, could receive a very small proportion of the Ro- 
man people; many thousand M^arriors, more especially of 
the Pluns, who served under the standard of Alaric, were 
strangers to the name, or at least to the faith, of Christ ; 
and we may suspect, without any breach of charity or can- 
dor, that in the hour of savage license, when every passion 
was inflamed, and every restraint wns removed, tlie pre- 
cepts of the Gosj^el seldom influenced the behavior of the 
Gothic Christians. The writers, the best dis])osed to exag- 
gerate their clemency, have freely confessed, that a cruel 

^0" See Augustin, deCtvitat. Dei, 1. i. c. 1-G. He particularly appeals to the 
examples (^f Trov, Syracuse, and Tarejatum, 

Vol/IIL— 4 



50 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

slaughter was made of the Romans ; ^°^ and that the streets 
of the city were filled with dead bodies, which remained 
without burial dui-insc the cfcneral consternation. The de- 
spair of the citizens was sometimes converted into fury ; 
and whenever the Barbarians were provoked by opposition, 
they extended tlie promiscuous massacre to the feeble, the 
innocent, and the helpless. The private revenge of forty 
thousand slaves was exercised v/ithout pity or remorse ; and 
the ignominious lashes which they had formerly received 
were washed away in the blood of the guilty, or obnoxious 
families. The matrons and virgins of Rome were exposed 
to injuries more dreadful, in the apprehension of chas- 
tity, than death itself ; and the ecclesiastical historian has 
selected an example of female virtue, for the admiration 
of future ages.^*^^ A Roman lady, of singular beauty and 
orthodox faith, had excited the impatient desires of a young 
Goth, who, according to the sagacious remark of Sozomen, 
was attached to the Arian heresy. Exasperated by her ob- 
stinate resistance, he di-ew his sword, and, with the anger of 
a lover, slightly wounded her neck. The bleeding heroine 
still continued to brave his resentment, and to repel his love 
till the ravishor desisted from his unavailing efforts, respect- 
fully conducted her to the sanctuary of the Vatican, and 
gave six pieces of gold to the guards of the church, on con- 
dition that they should restore her inviolate to the arms of 
her husband. Such instances of courage and generosity 
were not extremely common. The brutal soldiers satisfied 
their sensual appetites, without consulting either the incli- 
nation or the duties of their female captives : and a nice 
question of casuistry was seriously agitated. Whether those 
tender victims, who had inflexibly refused their consent to 
the violation which they sustained, had lost, by their mis- 

if'i Jerom (toni. i. p. 121, ad Principiam) has applied to the sack of Rome all 
the strong expressions of A'irgil : — 

Quis cladom illius noctis, quis funera faudo, 
Explicet, &c. 

Procopius (1. i. c. 2) positively affirms that great numbers were slain by the Goths. 
Aiigustin (de Civ. Dei, 1. i. c. 12, 1'A) oiters Christian comfort to the death of those 
whoso bodies {multa corpora) had remained {in tanta strage) unburied. Baix)- 
uins, from the different writings of the Fathers, lias thrown some light on the sack 
of Rome. Annal. Eccles. A. D. 410, No. 10-34.' 

i'-^ Sozomen, I. ix. c. 10. Augustin (de Civitat. Dei, 1. i. c. 17) intimates that 
some virgins or ma'.rons actually killed themselves to escape violation ; and 
though ho admires their spirit, lie is obliged, by liis theology, to condemn their 
rasli presumption. Perhaps the good bishop of Hippo was too easy in the belief, 
as well as too rigid in the censure, of this act of female heroism. The twenty 
maidens (if they ever existed) who threw themselves into the Elbe, when Magde- 
buigh was taken by storm, liave been nniltiplied to the number of twelve hun- 
dred. See liartc's History of Gustavus Adolphus, vol. i. p. 308. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 51 

fortune, the glorious crown of virginity.^*^^ Theie ^^ e'"^^ 
other losses indeed of a more substantial kind, and more 
general concern. It cannot be presumed, that all the Bar- 
barians were at all times capable of perpetrating such amor- 
ous outrages ; and the want of youth, or beauty, or chastity, 
protected the greatest part of the Roman women from the 
danger of a rape. But avarice is an insatiate and universal 
passion ; since the enjoyment of almost every object that 
can afford pleasure to the different tastes and tempers of 
mankind may be procured by the possession of wealth. In 
the pillage of Rome, a just preference was given to gold and 
jewels, which contain the greatest value in the smallest com- 
pass and weight ; but after these portable riches had been 
removed by the more diligent robbers, the palaces of Rome 
were rudely stripped of their splendid and costly furni- 
ture. The sideboards of massy plate, and the variegated 
wardrobes of silk and purple, were irregularly piled in 
the wagons, that always 'followed the march of a Gothic 
army. The most exquisite works of art were roughly 
handled, or wantonly destroyed ; many a statue was melted 
for the sake of the precious materials; and many a vase, in 
the division of the sj)oil, was shivered into fragments by the 
stroke of a battle-axe. The acquisition of riches served 
only to stimulate the aA^arice of the ra])acious Barbarians, 
who ])roceeded, by threats, by blows, and by tortures, to 
force from their prisoners the confession of hidden treasure.-^^* 
Visible splendor and expense were alleged as the proof of a 
plentiful fortune ; the appearance of poverty was imputed 
to a parsimonious disposition ; and the obstinacy of some 
misers, who endured the most cruel torments before they 
would discover the secret object of their affection, was fatal 
to many unhappy wretches, who expired under the lash, for 
refusinir to reveal their imaginary treasures. The edifices 
of Rome though the damage has been much exaggerated, re- 
ceived some injury from the violence of the Goths. At 

»03 See Augustlii de (^Ivitat. Dei, 1. i. c. 16, 18. He treats the subject with 
remarkable accuracy : and after admilting that there caiiiif)t be any crime where 
there is no consent, he adtFs, Sed quia nou solum quod ad dolorem, verum etiam 
quod ad libidinem, pertinet, in corpore alieno pepetrnri potest ; quicquid tale 
factum fuerit, etsi retentam constantissimo animo pedncitiam noii excutit, pudo- 
rein tamen Inciitit ne credatiir factum cum mentis etiam voluntate, quod fieri 
fortasse sine carni^ aliqua voluptate non potuit. Ill c. 18 he makes some curious 
distinctions between moral and physical virginity. 

i'>^ Marcella, a Roman lady, equally respectable for her rank, her age, and her 
piety, was thrown on the ground, and cruelly beaten and whipped, ca^sain f usti- 
bus flagellisque, &c. Jeroin, torn. i. p. 121, ad Principiam, See Augustin. de 
Civ. Dei, 1. i. c. 10. The modern Sacco di Roma, p. 1!08, gives an idea of the vari- 
ous methods of torturing prisoners for gold. 



52 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

their entrance through the Salarian gate, they fired the ad- 
jacent houses to guide their march, and to distract tlie 
attention of the citizens ; tlie flames, which encountered no 
obstacle in the disorder of the niglit, consumed many private 
and public buildings ; and the ruins of tlie palace of Sal- 
lust '^^'^ remained, in the age of Justinian, a stately monu- 
ment of the Gothic conflagration.^*^^ Yet a contemporary 
historian has observed, that fire could scarcely consume the 
enormous beams of solid brass, and that the strength of man 
was insufficient to subvert the foundations of ancient struc- 
tures. Some truth may possibly be concealed in his devout 
assertion, that the wrath of Heaven supj^lied the imperfec- 
tions of hostile rage ; and that the proud Forum of Rome, 
decorated with the statues of so many gods and heroes, was 
levelled iu the dust by the stroke of lightning.^^'' 

Whatever might be the numbers of equestrian or plebeian 
rank, who perished in the massacre of Rome, it is confident- 
ly affirmed thnt only one senator lost his life by the sword 
of the enemy.^*^^ But it was not easy to compute the mul- 
titudes, who, from an honorable station and a prosperous for- 
tune, were suddenly reduced to the misei'able condition of 
captives and exiles. As the Barbarians had more occasion 
for money than for slaves, they fixed at a moderate price 
the redemption of their indigent prisoners; and the ransom 
Avas often ])aid by the benevolence of their friends, or the 
charity of strangers.^*^^ The captives, who were regularly 

*33 The historian Sallust, who usefnlly prioticerl the vices whi li lie has so 
eloq^iently censured, employed the plunder of Nuniidia to adorn his palace and 
gardens on the Quiiinal hill. The spot \vh re the house stood is now marked by 
the church of St. Susanna, separated only by a street from ihe ba hs of Diocle- 
tian, and not far distant from the Salarian gate. See Naidini, Koma Antica, pp. 
192, 193, and the great Plan of Modern Kome, by Nolli. 

^^ The expressions of Proco;iius are distinct and moderate (de Bell. A'andal. 1. 
i. c. 2). The Chronicle of Murcelliiius speaks too strongly, partem urbis liomjo 
cremavit ; and the words of Philostorgias if epttTT.o.? be rr;? n6\eui; Keiiiiin-.r^ ], xii. 
c. o) convey a false a)id exaggerated idea. Bargnsus has c inposed a particular 
dissertation (see tom. Iv. Antiquit. Kom. Grsev.) to prove that the edifices of 
liome were not subverted by the Goths a; id Vandals. 

^07 Orosiiis, 1. ii. c. 19, p. il3. He speaks as if he disapproved nJJ statues : vel 
Deum vel hominem mentiuntur. They consisted of tlie kings of .Alba and Rf)ine 
from iEiieas, the IJomans, illustrious eilher in arms or .iris, and thedciiied ( asars. 
The expiessioii which he uses of Forum is somewhat ambi'uons. .«in( e there ex- 
isted /?/•« principal Fora: but as thev were all contiguous and n«liicent, in the 
plain which is surrounded bv the Capitoline. the Quirinal.thf Esquiline, and the 
Palatine hills, tliey might fairly be consid -red as on^\ Se • the Roma .\ntiqun, of 
Donatus, pp. l(i2-2'oi, and the Poma Anti( a of N.T«lini. pp. 212-27.". The forftier 
is more useful fo •• the ancient descriptions, the latter fo'- the nctual topogrn»)hy. 

I'^^Ovo-^ius (1. ii. c. 19, p. 142) compares ihe ( ruelty of the Ciauls an<l the clem- 
ency of the Goths. Ibi vix quemqiiam iuventum senalorcin. qui vel al sens eva - 
erit ; hie vix qneimuam re luiri. qui forte ut l.-itevs perierit. Rut there is an air 
of rhetoric, and perhaf)S of falsehood, in this antilliesis: and Socrates (1. vi. c. in) 
affirMis, perhaps by an fipposi'e exjiggeratiou, that }nanij senators were put to 
death with various ami exqui ite tortures. 

^"3 Multi Ohristiani incaptivilatem dncti sunt. Aufrustin.de Civ. Dei. 1. i, 

c. 11; and the Christians experienced no peculiar hardships. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 63 

sold, either in open market, or by private contrnct, would 
have legally rec^ained their native freedom, which it was im- 
possible for a citizen to lose, or to alienate."*^ ]3iit as it was 
soon discovered that the vindication of their liberty would 
endanger their lives ; and that the Gotlis, unless they were 
tempted to sell, might be provoked to murder, their useless 
prisoners ; the civil jurisj:)rudence had been already qualified 
by a wise regulation, that they should be obliged to serve 
the moderata term of five years, till they had discharged by 
their labor the price of their redemption. ^^^ The nations 
who invaded the Roman empire, had driven before tliem, 
into Italy, whole troops of hungry and affrighted provin- 
cials, less apprehensive of servitude than of famine. The 
calamities of Rome and Italy dispersed the inhabitants to the 
most lonely, the most secui'e, the most distant places of refuge. 
While the Gothic cavalry spread terror and desolation along 
the sea-coast of Campania and Tuscany, the little island of 
Igilium, separated by a narrow channel from the Argenta- 
rian ])romontory, repulsed, or eluded, their hostile attempts ; 
and at so small a distance from Rome, great numbers of 
citizens were se(!urely concealed in the thick woods of that 
sequestered spot.^^"^ The ample ])atrimonies, which many 
senatorian families possessed in Africa, invited them, if they 
had time, and prudence, to escape from the ruin of their 
country, to embrace the shelter of that hospitable province. 
The most illustrious of these fugitives was the noble and 
pious Proba,^^^ the widow of the praifect Petronius. After 

11'' See Heineccins. Antiqiiitat. Juris Ilomaii. torn. i. p. 9fi. 

I'l Apoeiulix Cod. 'riieodos. xvi. in Sirmond. Openv, toiu. i. p. 735. This edict 
was publislied on the 11 111 of December, A. 1). 408, and is more reasonable than 
properly belonged to the ministers of Honorius. 

li^ Eniiiius Igilii sylvoi^a caeumina miror ; 

Quern fraud;ire nefas laudis honore suae. 
Ha;c proprios uuper tutaLa est insula ealtus ; 

Sive loci iugenio, seu Domini genio. 
Gurgite cum modico victric-ibus obstitit armis, 

Tiimqu;im loiiginquo dissociata mari. 
Ha;c multos Licer.i suscepifc ab uibe fugatos, 

Hie fessis posito certa timore salus. 
Plurima terreno populaverat aiqiiora bello, 
Contra naturam classe timendus eques: 
— Unum, mira lides, vario discrimine portum ! 

Taui prope Komanis, tarn procul esse Getis, 

liutilius, in Itinerar. 1. i. 325. 

The island is now called Giglio. See Cluver. Ital. Antiq. 1. ii. p. 502. 
i'3 As the advejilures of Proba and lier family are connected with the life of 
St. Augiistin, tl-ey are diligently illustrated by Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. torn. xiii. 
pp. C20-G35. Some time after their arrival in Africa, Demetriastook the veil, aiid 
made a vow of virginity : an event which u'?;s considered as of the highest im- 
portance to Rome and to the world. All the Snlnfs wrote congratulatory letters 
to her; that of Jerom isstill extant (tom. i. pp. ()2-73, ad Demetrind. de servanda 
Virginitnt.), and contains a mixture of absurd reasoning, spirited declamation, 
and curious facts, some of which relate to the siege and Back of Rome. 



54 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

the deatn of her husband, the most powerful subject of 
Rome, she had remained at the head of the Anician family, 
and successively supplied, from her private fortune, the ex- 
pense of the consulships of her three sons. When the city 
was besieged and taken by the Goths, Proba supported, witli 
Christian resignation, the loss of immense riches ; embarked 
in a small vessel, from whence she beheld, at sea, tlie flames 
of her burning palace, and fled with her daughter Lasta, and 
her granddaughter, the celebrated virgin, Demetrias, to the 
coast of Africa. The benevolent profusion with which the 
matron distributed the fruits, or the price, of iier estates, 
contributed to alleviate the misfortunes of exile and cap- 
tivity. But even the family of Proba herself was not 
exempt from the rapacious oppression of Count Heraclian, 
who basely sold, in matrimonial prostitution, the noblest 
maidens of Rome to the lust or avarice of tlie Syrian mer- 
chants. The Italian fugitives were dispersed through the 
provinces, along the coast of Egyi^t and Asia, as far as Con- 
stantinoj)le and Jerusalem ; and the village of Bethlem, the 
solitary residence of St. Jerom and his female converts, was 
crowded with illustrious beggars of either sex, and every 
age, who excited the public compassion by the remembrance 
of their past fortune.^^"^ This awful catastrophe of Rome 
filled the astonished empire with grief and terror. So in- 
teresting a contrast of greatness and ruin, disposed tliefond 
credulity of the people to deplore, and even to exaggerate, 
the afilictions of the queen of cities. Tlie clergy, who ap- 
plied to recent events the lofty metaphors of Oriental proph- 
ecy, were sometimes tempted to confound tlie destruction 
of the capital and the dissolution of the globe. 

There exists in liuman nature a strong propensity to de- 
preciate the advantages, and to magnify the evils, of tlie 
present times. Yet, when the first emotions had subsided, 
and a fair estimate was made of the real damage, the more 
learned and judicious contemporaries were forced to con- 
fess, that infant Rome had formerly received more essential 
injury from the Gauls, than she had now sustained from the 
Goths in her declining age.^^^ The experience of eleven cen- 
turies has enabled jjosterity to produce a much more singu- 
lis See the pathetic complaint of Jerom (torn. v. p. 400); in his preface to the 
second book of his Commentaries on the Propliet Ezekiel. 

11-' Orosius, though with some tlieologicnl partiality, states this comparison, 1, 
ii. c. 19, p. 142, 1. vii. c. 39, p. 575. But in the history of the taking of Rome by the 
Gauls, every thing is imcertain, and perhaps fabulous. See Beaufort sur I'lncer- 
titude, &c., del'Histoire liomaine, p. 356 ; anil JNIelot, in the Mem. de I'Academie 
des Inscript. torn. xv. pp- 1-21. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 55 

lar parallel ; and to aftirm witli eonfid(mcc, that the ravages 
of the Barbarians, whom Alaric liad led from the banks of 
the Danube, were less destructive, than the hostilities ex- 
ercised by the troops of C'harlcs the Fiftli, a Catholic prince, 
Avho styled liimself Emperor of the llomans."'^ The Goths 
evacuated the city at the end of six days, but Rome 
remained above nine months in tlio ])o8scssi()n of the Im- 
perialists ; and every hour Avas stained by some atrocious 
act of cruelty, lust, and rapine. The authority of Alaric 
preserved some order and moderation among the ferocious 
multitude which acknowledged him for their header and king; 
but the constal)le of Bourbon had gloriously fallen in the 
attack of the walls ; and the death of tlie general removed 
every restraint of discipline from an army Avhich consisted 
of three iude])endent nations, the Italians, the Spaniards, and 
the Germans. In the beginning of the sixteenth century, the 
manners of Italy exliibited a remarkable scene of the deprav- 
ity of mankind. They united the sanguinary crimes that 
l>revail in an unsettled state of society, with the })olislied 
vices which spring from the abuse of art and luxury ; and 
the loose adventurers, who had violated every prejudice of 
2)atriotism and superstition to assault the palace of tiie Ro- 
man pontiff, must deserve to be considered as the most prof- 
ligate of the Italians. At tlie same a^ra, the Spaniards 
were the terror both of the Old and New World ; but their 
high-spirited valor was disgraced by gloomy pride, rapa- 
cious avarice, and unrelenting cruelty. Indefatigable in the 
pursuit of fame and riches, they had improved, by repeated 
practice, the most exquisite and effectual methods of tor- 
turing their prisoners : many of the Castilians, who pillaged 
Rome, were familiars of the holy inquisition, and some vol- 
unteers, perhaps, were lately returned from the conquest of 
Mexico. The Germans were less corrupt than the Italians, 
less cruel than the Spaniards ; and the rustic, or even sav- 
age, aspect of those Tramontane warriors, often disguised 
a simple and merciful disposition. But they had imbibed, 
in the first fervor of the reformation, the spirit, as well as * 
the principles, of Luther. It was their favorite amusement 

ii*"' The readei' who wishes to iiiformhimself of the circumstances of this famous 
event, may peruse an admirable narrative in Dr- Kobertson's History of Charles 
V. vol. ii. p. 283 ; orconsult the Annali d'ltalia of the learned Muratori, tom. xiv. 
pp. 230—214, octavo edition. If he is desirous of examining the originals, he may 
have recourse to the eighteenth book of the great, but unfinished, history of Guic- 
ciardini. But the account .which most truly deserves the name of authentic and 
original, is a little book, entitled, // Sacco di Roma, composed, within less than a 
month after the assault of the city, by the brother of the historian Guicciurdiui, 
who appears to have been an able magistrate and a dispassionate writer. 



56 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

to insult, or destroy, the consecrated objects of Catholic 
superstition ; they indulged, without pity or remorse, a de- 
vout hatred ag:ainst the clergy of every denomination and 
degree, who fomi so considerable a part of the inhabitants 
of modern Rome ; and their fanatic zeal might aspire to sub- 
vert the throne of Antichrist, to purify, with blo^d and fire, 
the abominations of the s})iritual Babylon.^" 

The retreat of the victorious Goths, who evacuated Kome 
on the sixth day,"*^ migiit be the residt of prudence; but it 
was not surely the effect of fear.^^^ At the head of an army 
encumbered with rich and weighty spoils, their intrepid 
leader advanced along the Appian way into the southern 
provinces of Italy, destroying whatever dared to oppose his 
passage, and contenting himself with the plunder of the 
unresisting country. The fate of Capua, the proud and 
luxurious metropolis of Campania, and which was respected, 
even in its decay, as the eighth city of the empire,^-° is buried 
in oblivion ; whilst the adjacent town of Nola^-^ has been il- 
lustrated, on this occasion, by the sanctity of Paulinus,^'^-^ who 
was successively a consul, a monk, and a bishop. At the? 
age of forty, he renounced the enjoyment of wealth and 
honor, of society and literature, to embrace a life of solitude 
and penance ; and the loud applause of the clergy encour- 
aged him to despise the reproaches of his w^orldly friendsy 
who ascribed this desperate act to some disorder of the mind 
or body.^-^^ An early and passionate attachment determined 
him to fix his humble dwelling in one of the suburbs of Nola, 

117 The furious spirit of Litther, the effect of temper and entliusiasm^ has been 
forcibly atia ked (Bossuet^Hist. des Variations deoEglises Protestaiites. livre i, 
pp. 20-36), and feebly defended (Scckendorf,^ Comment, de Lutberanismo^ espe- 
cially 1. i. No, 78, p- 12', and l.ili ISo, 122, p,556). 

11* Marcellinus, in CliroiK Orosir;S (1. vii. e. 30, p. 575). asserts that lie left Rome? 
on the thh'tJ day ; but tins difference is easily reconciled by the successive motion* 
of great boiUos of troop.-. 

^^^ Socrates (i. vii. e-. iO) pretends, without any colos of trtitb or reason, that 
Alaric tied on the report that the armies o£ the Eastern Enrpire were in full march 
to attack him. 

1-' Ausonius de Claris Urbibus, p. 233, edit. Toll. The luxury of Capua hadl 
formerly surpassed that of Sybaris itseK. S«e Athenjeus Deipnosophist. 1. xii. p. 
52S, edit. Casaubmt, 

121 Fortv-eight years before the foundation of Rome- (about 800 before tl e 
Christian :era\ tlie Tuscans built Capua and NoTa. at the distance of twenty-thrfe- 
miles from each other ; but the latter of the two cities never emerged from a 
sla e of tnediocrity. 

122 Tillemont (M^m. EceMs. torn. xfv. pp. 1-46) has compiled, with his usual 
diligence, all that relates tathe life and" writings of Paulimis, whose retreat i» 
celebrated bv his own i:K3n, and ly the praises of St. Ambrose, St. Jerom, St.^ Au- 
gustin, Sulpicius Se\erus, &c.. his Christian friends and contemporaries. 

i2''^ See the afectionate letters of Ausoni'is (eJ)!St. xi.K.-xxv. pp. G50-r98, edit. 
Toll.) 1o his coll ea'zue,. his frieTid. and his <Iis"ir»le, Pauli'ms. The religion of 
Ausonius is still a problem (see ]Mem. de I'Ac'idetnie des I^^scriotions torn. xv. pp. 
123-138"), I believe that it was suck in his owji tluic^ and,coui6eq,deiit4y, that iu 
his heart he was a Pagait. 



OF THE ROifAX EMPIRE. 67 

near the miraculous tomb of St. Felix, Avliicli tlie public clevo- 
tion lind already surrounded with live large and ])0|)ulous 
churches. The renriins of liis fortune, and of his under- 
standing, were dedicated to the service of the glorious 
martyr; wliose praise, on the day of his festival, Paulinus 
never failed to celebrate by a solemn hymn ; and in whose 
name lie erected a sixth church, of sujjerior elegance and 
beauty, which was decorated with many curious ];ictures, 
from the Iiistory of the Old and Ke\v Testament. Such 
assiduous zeal secured the fa\'or of the s;;int,^-^ or at least of 
the people; and, after h'lteen year.s' retii'cmcnt, tigt' Jiomari 
consul was compelled to accept the bishojiric of Xola, a few 
months before the city was invested by the Goths. During 
the siege, some religious persons were satisfied that they had 
seen, either in dreams or visions, the di\ ine form of their 
tutelar patron ; yet it soon appeared by the event, tluit 
Felx wanted power or inclination, to preserve the flock of 
which lie had formerly been the shepherd. Nohi was not 
saved from the general devastation;^-^ and the ca])tive 
bishop was protected only by the general o])ini()n of his in- 
nocence and poverty. Above four 3'ears ela}>sed from the 
successful invasion of Italy by tlie arms of Alaric, to the vol- 
untary retreat of the Goths under the conduct of Ids suc- 
cessor Adoli)hus; and, during the whole time, they reigned 
without control over a country, which, in the opinion of the 
ancients, had united all the various excellences of nature 
and art. The prosperity, indeed, which Italy liad attained 
in the auspicious age of the Antoniiies, hr.d gradu.'dly de- 
clined wdth the decline of the em])ire. The fruits of a 
long peace perished under the rude grasp of the Barbarians ; 
and they themselves were incji])able of tasting the more ele- 
gant refinements of luxury, which had been ]>repared for the 
use of the soft and polished Italians. Each soldier, liowever, 
claimed an ample portion of the substantial plenty, the corn 
and cattle, oil and wine that was daily collected and con- 
sumed in the Gotliic camp ; and the j)rincipa} warriors 
insulted the villas and gardens, once inhabited by Lucullus 
and Cicero, along the beauteous coast of Campania. Their 
trembling caj^tives, the sons and daugliters of Koman 
senators, presented, in goblets of gold and gems, lai-ge 
draughts of Falernian wine to the haughty victoi-s ; who 

'24 The humble Paulimis once presnmed to say that he believed St, Felix did 
love him ; at least, as a mnsl^r loves liis little dog, 

1-^ See Jornandes, de Keb. Get. o. 30, p. (Jo.;. i^hilos.orgius. 1. xii. c 3. AU' 
gustin, de Civ. Dei, 1. i. c- 10. Baronius, Auiial. Eccjes. A. D. 410, No. 45, 46. 



68 THE DECLIXE AND FALL 

stretched their huge limbs under the shade of plane-trees,^-^ 
artificially disposed to exclude the scorching rays, and to 
admit the genial warmth, of the sun. These delights were 
enhanced by the memory of past hardships : the comparison 
of their native soil, the bleak and barren hills of Scythia, 
and the frozen banks of the Elbe and Danube, added new 
charms to the felicity of the Italian climate.-^"^'^ 

Whether fame, or conquest, or riches, were the object of 
Alaric, he pursued that object with an indefatigable ardor 
which could neitlier be quelled by adversity nor satiated by 
success. No sooner had he reached the extreme land of Italy, 
than he was attracted by the neighboring ju-ospect of a fer- 
tile and peaceful island. Yet even the possession of Sicily 
he considered only as an intermediate stej^ to the important 
expedition, Avhich he already meditated against the continent 
of Africa. The Straits of Rhegium and Messina ^-^ are 
twelve miles in length, and, in the narrowest passage, about 
one mile and a lialf broad ; and the fabulous monsters of the 
deep, the rocks of Scylla, and the whirlpool of Charybdis, 
could terrify none but the most timid and unskilful mariners. 
Yet as soon as the first division of the Goths had embarked, 
a sudden tempest arose, which sunk, or scattered, many of 
the transports ; their courage was daunted by the terrors of 
a new element ; and the whole design was defeated by the 
premature death of Alaric, which fixed, after a short illness, 
the fatal term of his conquests. The ferocious character of 
the Barbarians was displayed in the funeral of a hero whose 
valor and fortune they celebrated with mournful applause. 
By the labor of a captive multitude, they forcibly diverted 
the course of the Busentinus, a small river that washes the 

126 The plafmrns, or plane-tree, was a favorite of the ancients, by whom it was 
propagated, for the sake of shade, from the East to Gaul. Pliny, Hist. Natur. 
xii. 3, 4, 5. He mentions several of an enormous size ; one i]i the imperial villa, 
at Velitrre, which Caligula called his nest, as the branches were capable of hold- 
ing a large table, the proper attendants, and the emperor himself, whom Pliny 
quaintly i>Xry\es pars itmbroi ; au expression which might, with equalreason.be 
applied to Alaric. 

12' The prostrate South to the destroyer yields 

Her boasted titles and her golden fields ; 

AVith grim delight the brood of winter view 

A brighter day, and skies of azure line ; 

Scent th(3 new fragrance of the opening rose, 

And quaff the pendent vintage as it grows. 

See Gray's Poems, published bv ^Ir. ]Mason,p. 107. Instead of compiling tables 
of chronology and natural Ir.st 'ry, why did not Mr. (ir;iy apply the powers of Ins 
genius to finish the i)hiloco;^)hic poem, of which he has left such an exquisite 
spc 'imen ? 

i'-< For the perfect description of the Straits of ]\Iessina. Scylla. Charybdis, 
&c., see Cluverius (Ital.' Antiq. 1. iv. p. 12n.">, aiul'Sicilia An:iq. 1. i. i)p. (iO-Tti), 
who nad dili'^^ntly studied the ancienls, and surveyed with a curious eye the 
actual face of the country. 



OF THE KOMAX EMPIRE. 59 

walls of Consentia. The royal sepulchre, adorned with the 
splendid spoils and trophies of Rome, was constructed in 
the vacant bed ; the waters were then restored to their nat- 
ural channel ; and tlie secret s])ot, where the remains of 
Alaric had been deposited, was forever concealed by the in- 
human massacre of the prisoners, who had been employed 
to execute the work.^^ 

The personal animosities and hereditary feuds of the 
Barbarians were suspended by the strong necessity of their 
affairs ; and the brave Adolphus, the brother-in-law of the 
deceased monarch, was unanimously elected to succeed to 
his throne. The character and j)olitical system of the new 
king of the Goths maybe best understood from his own con- 
versation with an illustrious citizen of Narbonne ; who after- 
wards, in a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, related it to St. 
Jerom, in the presence of the historian Orosius. "In the 
full confidence of valor and victory, I once aspired (said 
Adolphus) to change the face of the universe ; to obliterate 
the name of Rome ; to erect on its ruins the dominion of 
the Goths ; and to acquire, like Augustus, the immortal 
fame of the founder of a new empire. By repeated experi- 
ments, I was gradually convinced, tlint laws are essentially 
necessary to maintain and regulate a well-constituted state ; 
and that the fierce, untractable humor of the Goths was in- 
capable of bearing the salutary yoke of laws and civil gov- 
ernment. From that moment I proposed to myself a differ- 
ent object of glory and ambition ; and it is now my sincere 
w^ish that the gratitude of future ages should acknowledge 
the merit of a stranger, who employed the sword of the 
Goths, not to subvert, but to restore and maintain, the pros- 
perity of the Roman empire." ^'^"^ With these pacific views, 
the successor of Alaric suspended the operations of war; 
and seriously negotiated with the Imperial court a treaty of 
friendship and alliance. It was the interest of the ministers 
of Ilonorius, who were now released from the obligation of 
their extravagant oath, to deliver Italy from the intolerable 
weight of the Gothic powers ; and they readily acce])ted 
their service against the tyrants and Barbarians Avho infested 
the i^rovinces beyond the Alps.^^^ Adolphus, assuming the 

129 Jornandes, de Keb. Get. c. 30, p, 654. 

i"") Orosius, 1. vii. c. 43, pp. 581, 585. He was sent by St. Auccustin, in the year 
415, from Africa to Palestine, to visit St. Jerom, and to consult wiLli liim on the 
subject of the Pelagian controversy. 

1^1 Jornandes supposes, without much probability, that Adolpln:s visited and 
plundered jiome a second time (move locustarum eiasit^. Y(,t ho agrees with 
Orosius iu supposing that a treaty of peace was concluded between the Gothic 



60 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

chnl'ficter of a Roman general, directed his march from the 
extremity of Campjuiia to the soutliern province:^ of Gaul. 
His troops, either by force or r<xreement, immediately occi> 
l)ied the cities of Karbonne, Toulouse, and Bordeaux; r.i:d 
thougii tliey were repulsed by Count Boniface from tl:o 
walls of M<irseilles, they soon extended their quarters from 
the Mediterranean to the Ocean. The oppressed jn-ovincials 
miii,-ht exclaim, that the miserable remnant, which the enemy 
had spared, was cruelly ravished by their ]a-etended nlller^ ; 
yet some s]>ecious colors were not wanting to pjdli;.tc, or 
justify, the violence of the Goths. The cities of Gaul, which 
they attacked, might ])erhaps be considei-ed as in a state of 
rebellion against the government of Honorius : the articles 
of the treaty, or the secret instructions of the couit, might 
sometimes be alleged in favor of the seeming usurj)ations of 
Adolphus; and the guilt of any irregular, unsuccessful act 
of hostility might always be imputed, with an ap])earance of 
truth, to the ungovernable spirit of a Barbarian host, impa- 
tient of peace or discipline. The luxury of Italy had been 
less effectual to soften the temper, than to relax the courag(^ 
of the Goths ; and they liad imbibed the vices, with.out inii- 
tatinc»: the arts and institutions, of civilized society.-'^-' 

The professions of Adolphus were probably sincere, and 
his attachment to the cause of the republic was secured by 
the ascendant which a Roman princess had acquired over 
the heart and understanding of the Barbarian king. Pla- 
cidia,^^^ the daughter of the great Tlieodosius, and of Galla, 
his second wife, had received a royal education in the palace 
of Constantinople ; but the eventful story of her life is con- 
nected with the revolutions which agitated the Western em- 
pire under the reign of her brother Honorius. When Rome 
was first invested by the arms of Alaric, Placidia, who Avas 
then about twenty years of age, resided in the city ; and 
her ready consent to the death of her cousin Serena has a 
cruel and ungrateful aj^spearance, which, according to the 
circumstances of the action, may be aggravated, or excused, 
by the consideration of her tender age.^^^ The victorious 

prince and Honorius. See Oros. 1. vii. c. 43, pp. 584, 585. Jornandes, de Eeb. 
Geticis, c. 31, pp. G54, 055. 

^2 The rolreat of the Goths from Italy, and their first transacLiona in GanI, 
arc dark and doubtful. 1 have derived much a sistanco from JIascou (Hi. t. of the 
Ancient (Jermar.s, 1. viii. c. 20, 35. 3", 3.7), who has illustrated, and connected, the 
hi'oken chronicles and fr;i.<iments of th.e tunes. 

1^^ See an account of Placidia in Dncange, Fam. Byzant. p. 72 ; and Tillemont, 
Hist, des Emperonrs, torn. v. jip. 2G0, Si:G, ^c, torn. vi. p. 240. 

'^•^ Zosim. 1. V. p. '6o0. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 61 

Bnrbnrip.ns detained, either as aliostage or a captive, ^^^ the 
sister of llonorius ; but, wliile she Avas exjwsed to the dis- 
grace of following roiiiKl Italy tlie motions of a Gothic camp, 
slie experienced, liowever, a decent and respectfid treatment. 
The autliority of Jornandes, wlio praises the l)eanty of Pla- 
cidia, may perliaps be counterbalanced by the silence, the 
expressive silence, of her flatterers : yet the s[)lendor of her 
birth, tlie bloom of youth, the elegance of mannei-s, and the 
dexterous insinuation which she condescended to em])loy, 
made a deep impression on the mind of Adol])hus ; and the 
Gothic king asjnred to call himself the brother of the cm- 
peior. The ministers of llonorius rejected with disdain the 
]iroposal of an alliance so injurious to every sentiment of 
Itoman pride ; and rej)eatedly urged the restitution of Pla- 
cidia, as an indis])ensable condition of the treaty of peace. 
But the daugliter of Theodosius submitted, Avithout reluc- 
tancc,To the desires of the conqueror, a young and valiant 
prince, who yielded to Alaric in loftiness of stature, but who 
excelled in the more attraciiv«'qualities of grace and beauty. 
The marriage of Adolphus and Placidia^^^ was consumma- 
ted before tlie Goths retired from Italy ; and the solemn, ])er- 
liaps the anniversai-y, day of their nu})tials was afterwai-ds 
celebrated in the house of Ingenuus, one of the most illus- 
trious citizens of Narbonne in Gaul. The bride, attired 
and adorned like a Roman empress, was placed on a throne 
of state ; and the king of the Goths, who assumed, on this 
occasion, the Roman habit, contented himself with a less 
lionorable seat by lier side. The nuptial gift, which, ac- 
cording to the custom of his nation, ^^^ was offered to Pla- 
cidia, consisted of the rare and magnificent spoils of her 

1-'^ Zoslm. 1, vi. p. 383. Ovosius (1. vii. c. 40, p. /)7G). and the Chronicles of RTar- 
cer.iii ;s :i:ul Idatius, seem to suppose that the Goths did not carry away Placidia 
till after tlie sie ,e of lioine. 

1-° See the pictures of Adolphus and Plaoidia, and the account of their mar- 
riage, i:i Jornandes, de Reb. Geticis, c. 31, pp. G51. G.lo. Willi regard to the jdac o 
where the nuptials were stipulate<l, or consummated, or celebrated, the TviSS. of 
Jovnandes vary b tween two iu;ighborin\j cUIls, Forli and Iniola (Forum Livii 
and Forum Cornelii). It io fair and easy to reconcile the Gotluc historian with 
Olympiodorous (see Mascou, 1. viii. c, 40); bat Tillemont grows peevish, and 
swears tha^ it i.i not worth while to try to conciliate Jornandes with any good 
authors. 

^•^' The Visigoths (the subjects of Adolphus) restrnined, by subsequent laws, 
the prodigality of <onju:;al In-e. It wns illerijnl for a husband to make any gift 
or se:tlenient for the i euellt of his wife during the lii'st year of thuir ma riage ; 
and his liberality could not at a:iy lime exceed thetenib p.'irtof hi; properly. 
The Lombards were somewhat more indulgent: they allowed ihe morfi'mncap 
imniedi ltd/ after the wedding ni-jht ; and this fanons gift, the reward of vir- 
ginity, mi -lit equal the fourth pa t of the hnsb'ind's substance. Some caut'ous 
maidens, i ideed, were wise enough to stipula e beforehand a prs-nt, which 
V\ >y were too sure of not <lese ving. See i\Iontesqiiieu. Fsprit de Loix, 1. xix. o, 
i.*/. Murutori, delle Antichitii Italiane, torn, i, Dissertazion, xx. p. 213. 



62 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

country. Fifty beautiful 3'ouths, in silken robes, carried a 
basin in each hand ; and one of these basins was filled with 
pieces of gold, tlie other with ])recious stones of an inestima- 
ble value. Attains, so long the sport of fortune, and of tlie 
Goths, was appointed to lead the chorus of tlie Hymeneal 
song ; and the degraded emperor might aspire to the praise 
of a skilful musician. The Barbarians enjoyed the insolence 
of their triumph ; and the ])rovincials rejoiced in this alli- 
ance, which tempered, by the mild influence of love and 
reason, the fierce spirit of their Gothic lord.^^^ 

The hundred basins of gold and gems, presented to Pla- 
cidia at her nuptial feast, formed an inconsiderable portion 
of the Gothic treasures ; of which some extraordinary speci- 
mens may be selected from the history of the successors of 
Adolphus. Many curious and costly ornaments of pure 
gold, enriched with jewels, were found in their palace of 
Narbonne, when it was pillaged, in the sixth ceiffury, by 
the Franks : sixty cups, or chalices ; fifteen patens^ or 
plates, for the use of the eomm union ; twenty boxes, or 
cases, to hold the books of the Gospels : this consecrated 
wealth ^^^ was distributed by the son of Clovis among the 
churches of liis dominions, and his pious liberality seems to 
upbraid some former sacrilege of the Goths. They pos- 
sessed, with more security of conscience, the famous mis- 
sormni^ or great dish for the service of the table, of massy 
gold, of the weight of five hundred pounds, and of far 
superior value, from the precious stones, the exquisite work- 
manship, and the tradition, that it had been presented by 
Aetius, the patrician, to Torismond, king of the Goths. 
One of the successors of Torismond purchased the aid of the 
French monarch by the promise of this magnificent gift. 
When he was seated on the throne of. Spain, he delivered it 
witli reluctance to the ambassadors of Dagobert ; despoiled 
them on the road ; stipulated, after a long negotiation, the 
inadequate ransom of two hundred thousand pieces of gold; 
and jDreserved the missorium, as tlie pride of the Gothic 
treasury.^^*^ Wlien the treasury, after the conquest of Spain, 

138 We owe tlie curious detail of this nuptial feast to the liistorian Olympio- 
dorus, ap. Photiuin, pp. 185, 188. 

!•''•• See iu the great collection of the Historians of France by Dom Bouquet, 
torn. ii. Greg. Turonons. 1. iii. c. 10, p. 1!)1. Ge^jta Regum Fraiicoruni, c. 23, p. 
557. The anonymous writer, with an ignorance worthy of lus times, supposes 
that these iuetrunie:its of Christian worship had belonged to the temple of Solo- 
mon. If he has any meaning, it must be that they were found in the sack of 
Kome, 

"" Consult the following original testimonies in the Historians of France, 
torn, ii. Fredegarii Scholnstici Chron. c. 73, p. 441. Fredegar. Fragment, iii. p. 



OF THE KOMAX EMPIRE. 63 

was plundered by the Arabs, tliey admired, and they have 
celebrated, another object still more remarkable ; a table of 
considerable size, of one single piece of solid emerald, ^''^ 
encircled Avith tliree rows of fine ])earls, supported by three 
hundred and sixty-five feet of oems and massy gold, and esti- 
mated at the price of five hundred thousand pieces of gold.^''"^ 
Some portion of the Gothic treasures might be the gift of 
friendshi]), or the tribute of obedience ; but the far greater 
part had been the fruits of war and rapine, the spoils of the 
empire, and perhaps of Rome. 

After the deliverance of Italy from the oppression of the 
Goths, some secret counsellor was permitted, amidst the 
factions of tlie palace, to heal the wounds of that afflicted 
country.^^^ By a wise and humane regulation, the eight 
provinces w'hich had been the most deeply injured, Cam- 
pania, Tuscany, Picenum, Samnium, Apulia, Calabria, Brut- 
tium, and Lucania, obtained an indulgence of five years : 
the ordinary tribute was reduced to one-fifth, and even that 
fifth was destined to restore and support the useful institu- 
tion of the public posts. By another law, the lands which 
had been left without inhabitants or cultivation, were 
granted, Avith some diminution of taxes, to the neighbors 
who should occupy, or the strangers avIio should solicit 
them ; and the new possessors were secured against the 
future claims of the fugitive proprietors. About the same 
time a general amnesty was ])ublished in the name of Ilono- 
rius, to abolish the guilt and memory of all the involuntary 
offences w^hich had been committed by his unhappy sub- 
jects, during the term of the public disorder and calamity. 
A decent and respecful attention Avas paid to the restora- 
tion of the ca])ital ; the citizens were encouraged to rebuild 
the edifices Avhich had been destroyed or damaged by hos- 
tile fire ; and extraordinary su])plies of corn Avere imported 
from the coast of Africa. The crowds that so lately fled 

463. Gesta Regis Dagobert, c. 29, p. 587. The accession of Sisenaiid to the throne 
of Spain liappened A. D. 631. The 200,000 i.ieoes of gold were appropriated by 
Dagobert to the foundation of the church of St. Denys. 

I'l The president Goguet (Origine des Loix, &c., loni. ii. p. 239) is of opinion, 
that the stupendous pieces of emerald, the statues and columns which antiquity 
has placed in Egypt, at Gades, at Constantinoplt^, were in reality artificial com- 
positions of colored glass. The famous emerald dish, which is shown at Genoa, 
is supposed to countenance the suspicion. 

112 Elniacin. Hist. Saracenica, 1. i. p. 85. Roderic. Tolet. Hist. Arab. c. 9. Car- 
donne. Hist, de I'Afrique et de I'Espagne sous les Arabes, torn. i. p. 83. 
It was called the Table of Solomon, according to the custom of the Orientals, who 
ascribe to that prince every ancient work of knowledge or magnificence. 

1" His three laws are inserted in the Theodosian Code, 1. xi. tit. xxviii. leg. 7. 
L. xiii. tit. xi. leg. 12. L. xv. tit. xiv. leg. 14. The expressions of the last are 
very remarkable, since they contain not only a pardon, but an apology. 



64 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

before the sword of tlie Barbarians, Avero soon recalled by 
the hopes of i)lenty and j>leasure ; and Albinus, ])roefect of 
K:)me, informed the court, with some anxiety and surprise, 
til at, in a single day, he liad taken an account of tlie arri- 
\cA of fourteen thousaiul strangers. -^^^ In less than seven 
years, tlie vestiges of the Gothic invasion were almost oblit- 
erated ; and the city appeared, to resume its former splen- 
dor and tranquillity. The venerable matron re])laced her 
crown of laui"el, which had been ruffled by the storms of 
war ; and was still amused, in the last moment of her decay, 
with the ]>rophecies of revenge, of victory, and of eternal 
dominion. ^^^ 

This apparent tranquillity was soon disturbed by the 
approacli of a hostile armament from the country which 
afforded the daily subsistence of the Roman peo])le. Herac- 
li:in, count of Africa, who, under the most difficult and 
distressful circumstances, had supported, witli active loyalty, 
tlie cause of Ilonorius, was tempted, in the year of his con- 
suls-iip, to assume the character of a rebel, and the title of 
o:nj)eror. The ports of Africa were immediately filled with 
the naval forces, at the head of 'which he prepared to invade 
Italy: and his ileet, when it cast anchor at the mouth of 
the Tiber, indeed surpassed the fleets of Xerxes and Alex- 
ander, if all the vessels, including the royal galley, and the 
smallest boat, did actually amount to the incredible number 
of three thousand two hundred. ^"^^^ Yet with such an arma- 
ment, whicli might have subverted, or restored, the greatest 
cmi>ires of the earth, the African usurper made a very faint 
and feeble impression on the provinces of his rival. As he 
marched from the port, along the road ^vhich leads to the 
gates of Iwome, he was encountered, terrified, and routed, by 
one of the Imperial ca2:)tains ; and the lord of this mighty 

i4i oiynipioflorua :\p. Phot. p. 1R8. Philostorgius(l. xii. c. 5) observes, that when 
Ilonorius mado his triuraplial entiy, he encouraged tlie Romans, with his hand 
an I voice (^'ciol k-x yAJTT-) t'> rebuild their city ; iind the Chronicle of Prosper 
co:nnicnd; Ileradian, qui in Romanie urbis reparationeni streuuuni exhibuerat 
Tniniste:iu)n. 

!•' The date of the voya'^e of Claudius Putilius Numatlanus is clogged with 
6om3 diilicul'Lies ; bit Scaligcr has deduced from astronomical characters, that 
he Lift Kome the 21.h of September, and embarked at Porto Ihe <th of October. 
A. T). 4K), See Tillemont, IIi:it. def> ICmperens, torn. v. p 820. In this poetical 
i;i lerary, liutiliua (I. i. 115, &c.) addresses Home in a hijh straiu of congratu- 
la.ioit. 

Eri'jo crinalea laurcs, seniumque sacrati 
Vcrticis in virides, lloma, reciuge comas, &c, 

i'" Oroslus composed his hi ;tory in Africa, only two years after the event ; yet 
hia authority fioems 1o be overbalanced by the improbability of the fact. The 
Chronicle of ?.Tarcellinns ■ ives Ileradian 7 •?) t;hii)s and .3000 "men ; the latter of 
tlie^e namh'cra is ridiculously corrupt ; but the foimer would please me very much. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 65 

host, deserting his fortune and his friends, ignominiously 
iied with a single ship.^^^ WJien Heraclian landed in the 
]i arbor of Carthage, he found that the whole province, dis- 
daining such an unwortliy ruler, had returned to their 
allegiance. The rebel was beheaded in the ancient temple 
of Memory; his consulship was abolished ; ^^^ and the re- 
mains of his private fortune, not exceeding the moderate 
sum of four thousand pounds of gold, were granted to the 
brave Constantius, who had already defended the throne, 
which he afterwards sliared with his feeble sovereign. 
Honorius viewed, with supine indifference, the calamities of 
Rome and Italy ; ^'^^ but the rebellious attcmj^ts of Attalus 
and Heraclian, against his personal safety, awakened, for a 
moment, the torpid instinct of his nature. He was proba- 
bly ignorant of the causes and events which preserved him 
from these impending dangers ; and as Italy was no longer 
invaded by any foreign or domestic enemies, lie peaceably 
existed in the palace of Ravenna, while the tyrants beyond 
the Alps were re])eatedly vanquished in the name, and by 
the lieutenants, of the son of Theodosius.^^* In the course 
of a busy and interesting narrative I might possibly forget 
to mention the death of such a prince: and I shall therefore 
take the precaution of observing, in this place, that he sur 
vived the last siege of Rome about thirteen years. 

The usurpation of Constantine, who received the purple 
from the legions of Britain, had been successful, and seemed 
to be secure. His title was acknowledged, from the wall of 
Antoninus to the columns of Herculus ; and, in the midst 
of the public disorder he shared the dominion, and the 
plunder, of Gaul and Spain, with the tribes of Barbarians, 
whose destructive progress was no longer checked by the 
Rhine or Pyrenees. Stained with the blood of the kinsmen 

"7 The Chronicle of Idatius affirms, without the least appearance of truth, 
that he advanced as far as Otriculum, in Umbria, where he was overthiowii in a 
great battle, with liie loss of 50,000 men. 

^^s See Cod. Theod. 1. xv. tit. xiv. leg. 13. The legal acts performed in his 
i>ama, even the manumission of slaves, were declared invalid, till they had been 
formally repeated. 

''*'■' I h-ave dis<iained to mention a very foolish, and probably a false, report 
(Procop, de Bell. V.indal. 1. i. c. 2). that Honorius was alarmed by tlic loss of 
Itonie, till he understood that it was not a favorite chicken of thnt nam 2. but only 
the capital of the world, which had been lost. Yet even this story is some evi- 
dence of the public opinion, 

150 The materials for the lives of all these tyrants are taken from six contem- 
porary historians, two Latins and four Greeks : Orosius, 1. vii. c. 42, pp. 581, 58:J- 
583 ; Renatus Profuturus Frigeridus. apud Gregor. Turon. 1. ii. c. !), in the His, 
toriaus of France, torn. ii. pp. 1G5, 16G ; Zosimus, l.vi.pp. 370, 371 ; Olympiodorus 
apud Phot. pp. 180, 181, 184, 185 ; Sozomen. 1. ix. c. 12, 13, 14, 15 ; and Philostor- 
glus, 1, xii. c. 5, 6. with Godefroy's Dissertation, pp. 477-481 ; besides the four 
Clirouicles of Prosper Tyro, Prosper of Aquitain, Hatius, and Marcellinus. 

Vol. III.— 5 



66 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

of ITonorius, lie extorted, from the court of Ravenna, with 
whicli he secretly corresponded, the ratification of his 
rebellious claims. Constantine engaged himself, by a solemn 
promise, to deliver Italy from the Goths ; advanced as far 
as the banks of tlie Po ; and after alarming, rather than 
assisting, his pusillanimous ally, hastily returned to the 
palace of Aries, to celebrate, with intemperate luxury, his 
vain and ostentatious triumph. But this transient pros- 
perity was soon interrupted and destroyed by the revolt of 
Count Gerontius, the bravest of his generals ; who, during 
the absence of his son Constans, a prince already invested 
with the Imperial purple, had been left to command in the 
provinces of Spain. From some reason, of which Ave are 
ignorant, Gerontius, instead of assuming the diadem, ])laced 
it on the head of his friend Maximus, who fixed his residence 
at Tarragona, Avhile the active count pressed forwards, 
through the Pyrenees, to surprise the two emperors, Con- 
stantine and Constans, before tliey could ])repare for their 
defence. The son was made prisoner at Vienne, and im- 
mediately put to death : and tlie unfortunate youth had 
scarcely leisure to deplore the elevation of his family ; which 
had tempted, or compelled him, sacrilegiously to desert the 
peaceful obscurity of the monastic life. The father main- 
tained a siege Avithin the walls of Aries ; but those Avails 
must have yielded to the assailants, had not the city been 
nnexpectedly relieved by the approach of an Italian army. 
The name of Honorius, the proclamation of a lawful em- 
peror, astonished the contending parties of the rebels. 
Gerontius, abandoned by his own troops, escaped to the 
confines of Spain ; and rescued his name from oblivion, by 
the Roman courage Avhich appeared to animate the last 
moments of his life. In the middle of the night, a great 
body of his perfidious soldiers surrounded and attacked his 
house, Avhich he had strongly bariicaded. His Avife, a valiant 
friend of the nation of the Alani, and some faithful slaves, 
Avere still attached to his person ; and he used, with so 
much skill and resolution, a large magazine of darts and 
arrows, that above three hundred of the assailants lost their 
lives in the attempt. His slaves, Avhen all the missile weap- 
ons Avere spent, fled at the daAvn of day; and Gerontius, 
if he had not been restrained by conjugal tenderness, might 
have imitated their example ; till the soldiers, j)rovoked by 
such obstinate resistance, applied fire on all sides to the 
house. In this fatal extremitv, he complied Avith the r^ 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 67 

quest of his Barbarian friend, and cut off his head. The 
wife of Gerontius, who conjured him not to abandon her to 
a life of misery and disgrace, eagerly presented her neck to 
his sword ; and the tragic scene was terminated by the 
death of the count himself, who, after three ineffectual 
strokes, drew a short dagger, and sheathed it in his heart.-^^^ 
The unprotected Maximus, whom he had invested with the 
purple, was indebted for his life to the contempt that was 
entertained of his power and abilities. The caprice of the 
Barbarians, who ravaged Spain, once more seated this Impe- 
rial phantom on the throne : but they soon resigned him to 
the justice of Honorius ; and the tyrant Maximus, after he 
had been shown to the people of liavenna and Rome, Avas 
publicly executed. 

The general (Constantius was his name), who raised by 
his approach the siege of Aries, and dissipated the troops of 
Gerontius, was born a Roman ; and this remarkable distinc- 
tion is strongly expressive of the decay of military spirit 
among the subjects of the empire. The strength and maj- 
esty which were conspicuous in the person of that gen- 
eral, ^^^ marked him, in the popular opinion, as a candidate 
worthy of the throne, which he afterwards ascended. In 
the familiar intercourse of private life, his manners were 
cheerful and engaging ; nor would he sometimes disdain, in 
the license of convivial mirth, to vie with the pantomimes 
themselves, in the exercises of their ridiculous j^rofession. 
But when the trumpet summoned him to arms ; when he 
mounted his horse, and, bending down (for such was his 
singular practice) almost upon the neck, fiercely rolled his 
large animated eyes round the field, Constantius then struck 
terror into his foes, and inspired his soldiers with the assur- 
ance of victory. He had received from the court of Ra- 
venna the important commission of extirpating rebellion in 
the provinces of the West ; and the pretended emperor 
Constantine, after enjoying a short and anxious respite, was 
again besieged in his capital by the arms of a more formid- 
able enemy. Yet this interval allowed time for a success- 
ful negotiation with the Franks and Alemanni; and his 

151 The praises whfch Sozoinen has bestowed on this act of despair, appear 
strange and scandalous in the moutli of an ecclesiastical historian. He observes 
(p. 379) that the wife of Gerontius was a Christian ; and that her death was 
worthy of her religion, and of immortal fame. 

1^2 EtSo? df loi' Tupafi'tSo?, is the expression of Olympiodorns. which he seems to 
have borrowed from uEolus. a tragedy of P^uripides. of which some fragmenis 
only are now extant (Euripid. Barnes, torn. ii. p. 443, ver. 38). This allusion may 
prove, that the ancient tragic poets were still familiar to the Greeks of the fifth 
century. 



68 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

ambassador, Edobic, soon returned at the head of an army, 
to disturb the operations of the siege of Aries. The Roman 
general, instead of expecting the attack in his lines, boldly, 
and perhaps wisely, resolved to pass the Rhone, and to 
meet the Barbarians. His measures were conducted with 
so much skill and secrecy, that, while they engaged the 
infantry of Constantius in the front, they were suddenly 
attacked, surrounded, and destroyed, by the cavalry of his 
lieutenant Ulphilas, who had silently gained an advanta- 
geous post in their rear. The remains of the army of 
Edobic were preserved by flight or submission, and their 
leader escaped from the field of battle to the house of a 
faithless friend ; who too clearly understood, that the head 
of his obnoxious guest would be an acceptable and lucra- 
tive present for tlie Imperial general. On this occasion, 
Constantius behaved with the magnanimity of a genuine 
Roman. Subduing, or suppressing, every sentiment of jeal- 
ousy, he publicly acknowledged the merit and services of 
TJlphilas ; but he turned with horror from the assassin of 
Edobic ; and sternly intimated his commands, that the 
camp should no longer be polluted by the presence of an 
ungrateful wretch, who had violated the laws of friendship 
and hospitality. The usurper, who beheld, from the walls 
of Aries, the ruin of his last hopes, w^as tempted to place 
some confidence in so generous a conqueror. He required 
a solemn promise for his security ; and after i-eceiving, by 
the imposition of hands, the sacred character of a Christian 
Presbyter, he ventured to open the gates of the city. But 
he soon experienced that the principles of honor and integ- 
rity, which might regulate the ordinary conduct of Con- 
stantius, were superseded by the loose doctrines of political 
morality. The Roman general, indeed, refused to sully his 
laurels with the blood of Constantino; but the abdicated 
emperor and his son Julian were sent under a strong guard 
into Italy ; and before they reached the palace of Ravenna, 
thev met the ministers of death. 

At a time when it was universally confessed, tlmt ahnost 
every man in the empire was su]ierior in ])ersonal merit to 
the princes whom the accident of tlieir bii'th had seated on 
the throne, a rapid succession of usurpers, regardless of the 
fate of their predecessoi's, still continued to arise. This 
mischief was peculiarly felt in the provinces of S])ain and 
Gaul, where the principles of order and obedience had been 
extinguished by war and rebellion. Before Constantino- 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 69 

resigned the purple, and in the fourth month of the siege of 
Aries, intelligence was received in the Imperial camp, that 
Jovinus had assumed the diadem at Mentz, in the Upper 
Germany, at the instigation of Goar, king of the Alani and 
of Guntiarius, king of tlie Burgundians ; and that the can- 
didate, on whom they had bestowed the ernpire, advanced 
with a formidable host of Barbarians, from the banks of the 
Rhine to those of the Rhone. Every circumstance is dark 
and extraordinary in the short history of tlie reign of 
Jovinus. It was natural to expect, that a brave and skilful 
general, at the head of a victorious army, would have 
asserted, in a field of battle, the justice of the cause of 
Honorius. The hasty retreat of Constantius might be 
justified by weighty reasons ; but he resigned, without a 
struggle, the possession of Gaul; and Dardanus, the prae- 
torian praefect, is recorded as the only magistrate who 
refused to yield obedience to the usurper.^^''' When the 
Goths, two years after the siege of Rome, established their 
quarters in Gaul, it was natural to suppose that their 
inclinations could be divided only between the emperor 
Honorius, with whom they had formed a recent alliance, 
and the degraded Attains, whom they reserved in their 
camp for the occasional purpose of acting the part of a 
musician or a monarch. Yet in a moment of disgust (for 
which it is not easy to assign a cause, or a date), Adolphus 
connected himself Avith the usurper of Gaul ; and imposed 
on Attains the ignominious task of negotiating the treaty, 
which ratified his own disgrace. We are again surprised to 
read, that, instead of considering the Gothic alliance as the 
firmest support of his throne, Jovinus upbraided, in dark 
and ambiguous language, the officious importunity of 
Attains ; that, scorning the advice of his great ally, he in- 
vested with the purple his brother Sebastian ; and that he 
most imprudently accepted the service of Sarus, when that 
gallant chief, the soldier of Honorius, was provoked to 
desert the court of a prince, who knew not how to reward or 
punish. Adolphus, educated among a race of warriors, 
who esteemed the duty of revenge as the most precious and 
sacred portion of their inheritance, advanced with a body 

153 sidonius Apollinaris (1. v. epist, S, p. 139, and Not. Sirmond, p. 58), after 
stigmatizing the inconsfancj/ of Constantine, the facility of Jovinus, theyjcr/iV/?/ 
of Gerontius, continues to observe, that all the vices of these tyrants were united 
in the person of Dardanus. Yet the praefect supported a respectable character in 
the world, and even in the church; lield a devout correspondence vvitli St- Augustiu 
and St. Jerom ; and vkas complimented by the latter (tom. iii. p. 66) with the 
epithets of Christianorum Nobilissime, and Nobilium Christiauissime. 



70 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

of ten thousand Goths to encounter the hereditary enemy 
of the house of Balti. He attacked Sams at an unguarded 
moment, when he was accompanied only by eicrhteen or 
twenty of his valiant followers. United by friendship, ani- 
mated by despair, but at length oppressed by multitudes, 
this band of heroes deserved the esteem, without exciting 
the compassion, of their enemies ; and the lion was no 
sooner taken m the toils,^^^ than he was instantly despatched. 
The death of Sarus dissolved the loose alliance which 
Adolphus still maintained with the usurpers of Gaul. He 
again listened to the dictates of love and prudence; and 
soon satisfied the brother of Placidia, by the assurance that 
he would immediately transmit to the palace of Ravenna 
the heads of the two tyrants, Jovinus and Sebastian. The 
king of the Goths executed his promise without difficulty 
or delay ; the helpless brothers, unsupported by any per- 
sonal merit, were abandoned by their Barbarian auxiliaries ; 
and the short opposition of Yalentia was expiated by the 
ruin of one of the noblest cities of Gaul. The emperor, 
chosen by the Roman senate, who had been promoted, 
degraded, insulted, restored, again degraded, and again in- 
sulted, was finally abandoned to his fate ; but when the 
Gothic king withdrew his protection, he was restrained, by 
pity or contempt, from offering any violence to the person 
of Attains. The unfortunate Attains, who was left without 
subjects or allies, embarked in one of the ports of Spain, in 
search of some secure and solitary retreat :' but he was in- 
tercepted at sea, conducted to the presence of Honorius, led 
in triumph through the streets of Rome or Ravenna, and 
publicly exposed to the gazing multitude, on the second 
step of the throne of his invincible conqueror. The same 
measure of punishment, with which, in the days of his pros- 
perity, he was accused of menacing his rival, was inflicted 
on Attains himself; he was condemned, after the amputation 
of two fingers, to a perpetual exile in the Isle of Lipari, 
where he was supplied with the decent necessaries of life. 
The remainder of the reign of Honorius was undisturbed by 

15* The expression may be understood almost literally : Olympiodorus says, 
fioAtf (tolkkok; ((^uiyprjaau. 2a<c/co? (or <ra(cos)* may signify a sack, or a loose gar- 
ment ; and this method of entangling and catching an enemy, laciniis eontortis, 
was much practised by the Huns (Ammian. xxxi. 2). 11 fut pris vif avec des 
filets, is the translation of Tillemont, Hist, des Empereurs, torn. v. p. 608. 



* Bekker in his Photius reads <tk6koi<:, but in the new edition of the Byzantines, 
he retains o-oLkkoi?, which is translated Scuds, as if tliey protected him witii their 
shields, in order to take him alive. Photius, Bekker,* p. 58.— M. 



OF THE nOMAX EMPIRE. 71 

rebellion ; and it may be observed, that, in the space of five 
years, seven usurpers had yielded to the fortune of a ])rince, 
who was liimself incapable either of counsel or of action. 

Tlie situation of Spain, separated, on all sides, from the 
enemies of Rome, by the sea, by the mountains, and by in- 
termediate provinces, had secured the long tranquillity of 
that remote and sequestered country ; and we may observe, 
as a sure symptom of domestic }ia])piness, that, in a period 
of four hundred years, Spain furnished very few materials 
to the history of the Roman empire. The footsteps of the 
Barbarians, who, in the reign of Gallienus, had penetrated 
beyond the Pyrenees, were soon obliterated by the return 
of peace; and in the fourth century of the Christian gera, the 
cities of Emerita, or Merida, of Corduba, Seville, Bracara, 
and Tarragona, were numbered with the most illustrious of 
the Roman world. The various plenty of the animal, the 
vegetable, and the mineral kingdoms, was improved and 
manufactured by the skill of an industrious people; and the 
peculiar advantages of naval stores contributed to support 
an extensive and profitable trade. ^^^ The arts and sciences 
flourished under the protection of the emperors ; and if the 
character of the Spaniards was enfeebled by peace and servi- 
tude, the hostile approach of the Germans, who had spread 
terror and desolation from the Rhine to the Pyrenees, seem- 
ed to rekindle some sparks of military ardor. As long as 
the defence of the mountains was intrusted to the hardy and 
faithful militia of the country, they successfully repelled the 
frequent attempts of the Barbarians. But no sooner had 
the national troops been compelled to resign their post to 
the Honorian bands, in the service of Constantine, than the 
gates of Spain were treacherously betrayed to the public 
enemy, about ten months before the sack of Rome by the 
Goths.^^*^ The consciousness of guilt, and the thirst of rapine, 
prompted the mercenary guards of the Pyrenees to desert 
their station ; to invite the arms of the Suevi, the Vandals, 
and the Alani; and to swell the torrent which was poured 
with irresistible violence from the frontiers of Saul to the 

155 Without recurring to the more ancient writers, I shall qn.oto three respect- 
ahle testimonies which belong to the fourth and seventh centuries ; the Exposi- 
tio t'~-tiu8 Mundi (p. 16, in the third volume of Hudson's Minor Geograj)hers), 
Ausoniug (de Claris Urbibus, p. 242, edit. Toll.), and Isidore of Seville (Prsefat. 
ad Chron. ap. Grotiura, Hist. Goth. 707). I\Iany particulars relative to tlie fer- 
tility and trade of Spain may be found in Nonnius, Hispania Illustrata ; and in 
Huet, Hist, du Commerce des Anciens, c. 40, pp. 228-234. 

'"G The date is accurately fixed in the Fnsti, and the Chronicle of Idatius. 
Orosius (1. vii. c. 40, p. 578) imputes the loss of Spain to the treachery of the 
Hono.iaus ; while Sozomeu (1. ix. c. 12) accuses only their negligence. 



72 THE DECLIXE A^T> FALL 

sea of Africa. The misfortunes of Spain may be dc'scrlbm 
in the language of its most eloquent historian, who lias con- 
cisely expressed the passionate, and perhaps exaggerated, 
declamations of contemporary writers,^" " Tlie irruption 
of these nations was followed by the most dreadful ca- 
lamities ; as the Barbarians exercised their indiscriminate 
cruelty on the fortunes of the Romans and the Spaniards, 
and ravaged with equal fury the cities and the open coun- 
try. The progress of famine reduced the miserable inhabi- 
tants to feed on the flesh of their fellow-creatures ; and even 
the wild beasts, w^ho multiplied, without control, in the 
desert, were exasperated by the taste of blood, and the im- 
patience of hunger, boldly to attack and devour their human 
prey. Pestilence soon appeared, the inseparable companion 
of famine ; a large proportion of the people was swept away ; 
and the groans of the dying excited only the envy of their 
surviving friends. At length the Barbarians, satiated with 
carnage and rapine, and afflicted by the contagious evils 
which they themselves had introduced, fixed their perma- 
nent seats in the depopulated country. The ancient Gallicia, 
whose limits included the kingdom of Old Castille, was 
divided between the Suevi and the Yandals ; the Alani 
were scattered over the provinces of Carthagena and Lusi- 
tania, from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic Ocean ; and 
the fniitful territory of Boetica was allotted to the Siliiigi ; 
anotlier branch of the Yandalie nation. After regulating 
this partitio-n, the conquerors contracted with their new 
subjects some reciprocal engagements of pi*otection and 
obedience: the lands were again cultivated ; and the towns 
and villages were again occupied by a captive people. The 
greatest j)art of the Spaniards was even disposed to prefer 
this new condition of poverty and barbarism, to the severe 
oppressions of the Roman government ; yet there were 
many who still asserted their native freedom ; and who re- 
fused, more especially in the mountains of Gallicia, to sub- 
mit to the Barbarian yoke." ^^^ 

The important present of the heads of Jovinus and 
Sebastian had approved the friendship of Adolphus, and 

1" Idat ins wishes to apply Ihe prophecies of Daniel to these national oalnm- 
ities ; and ia therefore obliged to aceouuiiodate the cireumstaiuces of the event to 
tlie terms of the pre<.lict>on. 

^■'= Miuiauft (le Kebns Hispanicis, 1. ▼. c. 1. torn. i. p. 148. Hag. Comit. 1733. 
He Ind r(>ad, in Orosius (1. vii. c. 41. p. 579), tbat thelJarbaiians had turned their 
swords into ))]onghsliares ; and that many of (he Provincials liad i)referred inter 
Barbaros pauperciu lib^rtateux quam inter Komauoa tributariaia solititudiueiu, 
aubtinere. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 73 

restored Gaul to the obedience of liis brother Honorliis. 
Peace was incompatible Avitli the situation and temper of 
the king. of the Goths. He readily accepted the proposal of 
turning his Adctorious arms against the Barbarians of Spain ; 
the trooj)s of Constantiiis intercepted his commnnication 
with the seaports of Gaul, and gently pressed his march to- 
wards the Pyrenees : ^^^ he passed the mountains, and sur- 
prised, in the name of the emperor, the city of Barcelona. 
The fondness of Adolphus for his Koman bride was not 
abated by time or possession ; and the birth of a son, sur- 
named, from his illustrious grandsire, Theodosius, appeared 
to fix him forever in the interest of the republic. The loss 
of that infant, whose remains were deposited in a silver 
coffin in one of the churches near Barcelona, afflicted his 
parents ; but the grief of the Gothic king was suspended by 
the labors of the field ; and the course of his victories was 
soon interrupted by domestic treason. He had imprudently 
received into his service one of the followers of Sarus ; a 
Barbarian of a daring spirit, but of a diminutive stature ; 
whose secret desire of revenging the death of liis beloved 
patron was continually irritated by the sarcasms of his in- 
solent master. Adolphus was assassinated in the palace of 
Barcelona ; the laws of the succession were violated by a 
tumultuous faction ; '^'''^ and a stranger to the royal race, 
Singeric, the brother of Sarus himself, was seated on the 
Gothic throne. The first act of his reign was the inhuman 
murder of the six children of Adolphus, the issue of a for- 
mer marriage, whom he tore, without pity, from the feeble 
arms of a venerable bishop. ^^^ The unfortunate Placid ia, 
instead of the respectful compassion, wliich she miglit have 
excited in the most savage breasts, was treated with cruel 
and wanton insult. The daughter of the emperor Theodo- 
sius, confounded among a crowd of vulgar captives, was 
compelled to march on foot above twelve miles, before the 
horse of a Barbarian, the assassin of a husband whom Pla- 
cidia loved and lamented.^^- 

^'9 Tliis mixture of force and persuasion may be fairly inferred from compar- 
ing Orosius and Jorniindes, the Roman and the Gothic historiaji. 

100 Ac<'ordincr tf) the system of florn uides (c. ;;."), p. OoD). tlie true hereditary 
right ;o the Gothic sceptre was vested in the Amall : \nxt those princes, wJio were 
the vas-als of tlie Huns, commanded the tribes of the Ostrogoths in some distant 
parts of Germany or S<'ythia. 

1"' The murder is related by Olympiodorus : but the number of the children 
is taken from an epitaph of suspected autliority. 

162 The death of Adolphus \v;\s celebrated at Constantinople with illtimina- 
tions and ( ircensian games. (See Chron. Alexandrin.> It may seem doii; Iful 
whether the Greeks were actuated, on this occasion, ti^y their haired of the Bai:- 
barians, or of the Latins. 



74 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

But Placiclia soon obtained the pleasure of revenge ; and 
the view of her ignominious sufferings might rouse an indig- 
nant people against the tyrant, who was assassinated on the 
seventh day of his usurpation. After the death of Singeric, 
the free choice of the nation bestowed the Gothic sceptre on 
Wallia ; whose warlike and ambitious temper appeared, in 
the beginning of his reign, extremely hostile to the republic. 
He marched in arms from Barcelona to the shores of the 
Atlantic Ocean, wdiich the ancients revered and dreaded as 
the boundary of the world. But when he reached the 
southern promontory of Spain, ^^^ and, from the rock now 
covered by the fortress of Gibraltar, contemplated the 
neighboring and fertile coast of Africa, Wallia resumed the 
designs of conquest, which had been interrupted by the 
death of Alaric. The winds and waves again disappointed 
the enterprise of the Goths ; and the minds of a supersti- 
tious people were deeply affected by the repeated disasters 
of storms and shipwrecks. In this disposition, the successor 
of Adolphus no longer refused to listen to a Roman ambas- 
sador, whose proposals were enforced by the real, or sup- 
posed, approach of a numerous army, under the conduct of 
the brave Constantius. A solemn treaty was stipulated and 
observed ; Placid ia was honor ablv restored to her brother ; 
six hundred thousand measures of wheat were delivered to 
the hungry Goths ; ^"^ and Wallia engaged to draw his 
sword in the service of the empire. A bloody war was in- 
stantly excited among the Barbarians of S])ain ; and the 
contending princes are said to have addressed their letters, 
their ambassadors, and their hostages, to the throne of the 
"Western emperor, exhorting him to remain a tranquil spec- 
tator of their contest ; the events of which must be favor- 
able to the Romans, by the mutual slaughter of their common 
enemies.^®^ The Spanish war was obstinately supported, 
during three camj^aigns, with desperate valor, and various 

16* Qii5<l Tn7-tessiari.s avus liiijus Vallla feii-is 

Vandalicas turmas, et juncti Martis Alanos. 
StraviL, eL occiduam texere cndavcra Calpcn. 

Sidon. Apollinar. in Panegyr. Anthem. 363,. 
p. 300, edit. Sirmond. 

^•* This supply was very acceptable : the Goths were insulted by the Vandals 
of Spain with the cpitliet of Ttull, because, in their extreme distress, they liad 
given a piece of gold for a iriila, or about lialf a pound of flour. Olympiod. apud 
Phot. p. 189. 

K'"' Orosius inserts a copy of these pretended letters. Tu cum omnibus paceni 
liabe, omuiumque obsidcs accipe ; nos nobis confiigimus nobis perimus, tibi vin- 
cimus ; immortalis vero qua'stus orit Heipublicfs tna^, si utrique pereannis. Tbe 
idea is just ; but I cannot persuade myself that it was entertained, or expressed, 
by the Barbarians, 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 75 

success; and the martial acHu'evements of Wallia diffused 
through the empire tlie superior renown of tlie Gotliic hero. 
He exterminated the Silingi, who liad irretrievably ruined 
the elegant plenty of the province of Boetica. He slew, in 
battle, the king of the Alani ; and the remains of those 
Scythian wanderers, who escaped from the field, instead of 
choosing a new leader, humbly sought a refuge under the 
standard of the Vandals, with whom they were ever after- 
wards confounded. The Vandals themselves, and the Suevi, 
yielded to the efforts of the invincible Goths. The promis- 
cuous multitude of Barbarians, whose retreat had been 
intercepted, were driven into the mountains of Gallicia ; 
where they still continued, in a narrow compass, and on a 
barren soil, to exercise their domestic and implacable hos- 
tilities. In the pride of victory, Wallia was faithful to his 
engagements; he restored his Spanish conquests to the 
obedience of Honorius ; and tlie tyranny of the Imperial 
officers soon reduced an oppressed people to regret the time 
of their Barbarian servitude. While the event of the war 
was still doubtful, the first advantages obtained by the arms 
of Wallia h^id encouraged the court of Ravenna to decree 
the honors of a triumph to their feeble sovereign. He en- 
tered Rome like the ancient conquerors of nations ; and if 
the monuments of servile corruption had not long since met 
with the fate which tliey deserved, Ave should probably find 
that a crowd of poets and orators, of magistrates and 
bishops, aj^plauded the fortune, the wisdom, and the invinci- 
ble courage, of the emperor Honorius. ^^® 

Such a triumph might have been justly elairaed by the 
ally of Rome, if Wallia, before he repassed the Pyrenees, 
had extirpated the seeds of the Spanish war. His victorious 
Goths, forty-three years after they had passed the Danube, 
were established, according to the faith of treaties, in the 
possession of the second Aquitain ; a maritime province be- 
tween the Garonne and the Loire, under the civil and eccle- 
siastical jurisdiction of Bourdeaux. That metropolis, advan- 
tageously situated for the trade of the ocean, was built 
in a regular and elegant form ; and its numerous inhabitants 
were distinguished among the Gauls by their wealth, their 
learning, and the politeness of their manners. The adja- 

^^ Romam triumphaiis ingredicur, is the formal expression of Prosper'siChion- 
icle. The facts wliich relate to the death of Adolphus, and thi; exploits of 
Wallia, are related from Olympiodoius (ap. Phot. p. 18.s), Orosius (1. vii. c. 4.'!, pp. 
684-587), Joniandes (de Kebus Geticis, c. 31, 32), and the Chronicles of Idatius and 
Isidore. 



76 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

cent province, which has been fondly compared to tne gar- 
den of Eden, is blessed with a fruitful soil, and a temperate 
climate; the face of the country displa^^ed the arts and the 
rewards of industry; and the Goths, after their martial 
toils, luxuriously exhausted the rich vineyards of Aquitain.^*^''' 
The Gothic limits were enlarged by the additional gift of 
some neighboring dioceses ; and the successors of Alaric 
fixed their royal residence at Toulouse, which included five 
populous quarters, or cities, within the spacious circuit of 
its walls. About the same time, in the last years of the 
reign of Honorius, the Goths, the Burgundians, and the 
Franks, obtained a permanent seat and dominion in the 
provinces of Gaul. The liberal grant of the usurper Jovi- 
nus to his Burgundian allies, was confirmed by the lawful 
emperor; the lands of the First, or Upper, Germany, were 
ceded to those formidable Barbarians ; and they gradually 
occupied, either by conquest or treaty, the two provinces 
which still retain, witli the titles of Dachy and of County^ 
the national appellation of Burgundy.^^^ The Franks, tlie 
valiant and faithful allies of the Koman republic, were soon 
tempted to imitate the invaders, whom they had so bravely 
resisted. Treves, the capital of Gaul, was pillaged by their 
lawless bands ; and the humble colony, which they so long 
maintained in the district of Toxandria, in Brabant, insensi- 
bly multiplied along the banks of the Meuse and Scheldt, till 
their independent power filled the whole extent of the 
Second, or Lower, Germany. These facts niay be sufficiently 
justified by historic evidence; but the foundation of the 
French monarchy by Pharamond, the conquests, the laws, 
and even the existence, of that hero, have been justly ar- 
raigned by the impartial scA'erity of modern criticism. ^*^^ 

^°7 Ausonius (de Claris Urbibus, pp. 257-262) celebrates Bonideaux with the 
partial affection of a native. See in Salvian (de Gubern. Dei, p. 228. Paris, ICOS) 
a florid description of the provinces of Aquilain and Novenipopulania. 

i'»3 Orosius (1. vii. c. 32, p. 550) commends the mildness and modesty of these 
Burgundians, who treated their subjects of Gaul as their Christian brethren. 
Mascou has illustrated the origin of their kingdom in the four first annotations 
at the end of his laboi-ious History of the Ancient Germans, vol. ii. pp. 555-572, 
of the English translation. 

i«J See Mascou, 1. viii. c. 43, 44, 45. Except in a short and suspicious line of 
the Chroniclg of Prosper (in torn. i. p. G38) the name of Pharamond is never men- 
tioned before the seventh century. The author of the Gesta Francoi^'um (in tom. 
ii. p. 543) suggests, probably enough, that the choice of I'haramoiid, or at least of 
a king, was recommended to the Franks by his father Marcomir, who was an ex- 
ile in Tuscany.* 

* The first mention of Pharamond is in the Gesta Francorum, assigned to 
about the year 720. St. Martin, iv. 4G9. The modern French writers \\\ general 
subscribe to the oi)ini()n of Thierry: Faramond iils de Markomi:-, quoique sou 
nom soit bien germanique, et son r^gne possible, ne figure pas dans les histoireslea 
plus dignes de foi. A. Thierry, Lettres sur I'llistoire de France, p. 80. — M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 77 

The ruin of the o])a]e]it ])r()^'inces of Gaul mny be dated 
from tlie establishment of these Barbarians, whose alliance 
was dangerous and oppressive, and who were capriciously 
impelled, by interest or passion, to violate the public peace. 
A heavy and partial ransom was imposed on the surviving 
provincials, who had escaped the calamities of war ; the 
fairest and most fertile lands were assigned to the rapacious 
strangers, for the use of their families, their slaves, and their 
cattle ; and the trembling natives relinquished with a sigh 
the inheritance of their fathers. Yet these domestic mis- 
fortunes, which are seldom the lot of a vanquished people, 
liad been felt and inflicted by the Romans tliemselves, not 
only in the insolence of foreign conquest, but in the madness 
of civil discord. Tlie Triumvirs proscribed eighteen of the 
most flourishing colonies of Ital}»; aind distributed their 
lands and houses to the veterans Avho revenged the death of 
Caesar, and oppressed the liberty of their country. Two 
poets of unequal fame have deplored, in similar circum- 
stances, the loss of their patrimony ; but the legionaries of 
Augustus appear to have surpassed, in violence and injus- 
tice, the Barbarians who invaded Gaul under the reign of 
Honorius. It was not without the utmost difiiculty that 
Virgil escaped from the sword of the Centurion, who had 
usurj^ed his farm in the neighborhood of Mantua ; ^''^ but 
Paulinus of Bourdeaux received a sum of money from his 
Gothic purchaser, which he accepted with pleasure and sur- 
prise ; and, though it w^as much inferior to the real value of 
bis estate, this act of rapine was disguised by some color of 
moderation and equity.-^'^ The odious name of conquerors 
was softened into the mild and friendly appellation of the 
guests of the Romans ; and the Barbarians of Gaul, more 
especially the Goths, repeatedly declared, that they were 
bound 'to the people by the ties of hos])itality, and to the 
emperor by the duty of allegiance and military service. 
The title of Honorius and his successors, their laws, and 
their civil magistrates, were still respected in the provinces 

^"^^ O Lyrida, vivi pervejiimus : advena nostri 

(Quod iiuiiquaiu vuriti sumus) iiL po:^f-essor agelli 
Diceret : Ilrec jiiea sunt ; veteies migrate coloiii. 
Nunc victi tristes, &c. 

See the whole of the ninth eclogue, with the nsefnl commentary of Serrius, 
Fifteeji miles of the Mantuan territory Avere assigned to the veterans, with a 
reservation, in favor of the inhabitants", of three miles round the city. Even in 
thi^ favor they were cheated by Alfeniis Varus, a famous lawyer, and one of the 
commissioners, who measured cipht hundred paces of water and morass. 

I'l See the remarkable pa. sage of the Euchaiisticon of Paulinus, 575, apud 
Mascou, 1. viii. c.42. 



78 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

of Gaul, of which they had resigned the possession to the 
Barbarian allies ; and the kings, wlio exercised a supreme 
and independent authority over their native subjects, am- 
bitiously solicited the more honorable rank of master- 
generals of the Imperial armies.^'^ Such was the involun- 
tary reverence which the Roman name still impressed on tlie 
minds of those warriors, who had borne away in triumph 
the spoils of the Capitol. 

Whilst Italy was ravaged by the Goths, and a succession 
of feeble tyrants oppressed the provinces beyond tlie Alps, 
the British island separated itself from the body of the Ro- 
man empire. The regular forces, which guarded that re- 
mote province, had been gradually withdrawn ; and Britain 
was abandoned without defence to the Saxon pirates, and 
the savages of Ireland •and Caledonia. The Britons, re- 
duced to this extremity, no longer relied on the tardy and 
doubtful aid of a declining monarchy. They assembled in 
arms, repelled the invaders, and rejoiced in the important 
discovery of their own strength. ^'^ Afflicted by similar 
calamities, and actuated by the same spirit, the Armorican 
provinces (a name which comprehended the maritime coun- 
tries of Gaul between the Seine and the Loire ^''*) resolved to 
imitate the example of the neighboring island. They ex- 
pelled the Roman magistrates, who acted under the author- 
ity of the usurper Constantine ; and a free government was 
established among a people who had so long been subject to 
the arbitrary w^ill of a master. The independence of Britain 
and Armorica was soon confirmed by Honorius himself, the 
lawful emperor of the West ; and the letters, by which he 
committed to the new states the care of their own safety, 
might be interpreted as an absolute and perpetual abdicatiuii 
of the exercise and rights of sovereignty. This interpreta- 
tion was, in some measure, justified by the event. ^ After 
the usurpers of Gaul had successively fallen, the maritime 
provinces were restored to the empire. Yet their obedience 
was imperfect and precarious : the vain, inconstant, rebel- 

172 This important truth is established by tlie accuracy of Tillemont (Hist, des 
Emp. torn. V. p. 641), and by the ingenuity of the Abb6 I)ubos (Hist, do I'Etab- 
lissement de la Monarchie Fran^oise dans les Gaules, torn, i, p. 2o9). 

1" Zosinius (1. vi. 37G, .S^o) relates in a few words the revolt of Britain and 
Armorica. Our antiquarians, even the great Camden himself, have been be- 
trayed into many gross errors, by their imperfect knowledge of tho history of the 
continent. 

"* The limits of Armorica are defined by two national geographers, Messieurs 
De Valois and D'Anville, in their Xofitias of Ancient Gaul. The word bad been 
used in a more extensive, and was afterwards contracted to a much narrower, 
eignitication. 



OF THE ROMAX EMPIRE. 79 

lious disposition of the people, was incompatible eitlier with 
freedom or servitude ; ^"^-^ and Arinorica, thongli it could not 
long maintain the form of a republic,^' ^ was agitated by fre- 
quent and destructive revolts. Britain was irrecoverably 
lost.^'^ But as the emperors wisely acquiesced in the inde- 
pendence of a remote province, the separation was not im- 
bittered by the reproach of tyranny or rebellion ; and the 
claims of allegiance and protection were succeeded by the 
mutual and voluntary offices of national friendship.^'^'^ 

This revolution dissolved the artificial fabric of civil and 
military government; and the independent country, during 
a period of forty years, till the descent of the Saxons, was 
ruled by the authority of the clergy, the nobles, and the 
municipal towns.^"^'-^ I. Zosimus, who alone has preserved 
tlie memory of this singular transa<;tion, very accurately ob- 
serves, that the letters of Honorius were addressed to the 
cities of Britain. ^^'^ Under the protection of the Romans, 
ninety-two considerable towns had arisen in the several 
parts of that great province ; and, among these, thiHy-three 
cities were distinguished above the rest by their sujierior 

*^* Gens inter geminos notissiina clauditur amnes, 

Armoricana prius veteri cognomine dicta. 
Torva, ferox, ventosa, procax, incauta, rebellis; 
Incoiistaiis, disparque .sibi iiovitatis amore ; 
Prodiga verborum, sed uou et prodiga facti. 

Er icus. Monach. in Yit. St. Germaui. 1. v. apnd Vales. Notit. Galliarum, p. 43. 
Valesius alleges several testimonies to co:ifirni this character; to which I shall 
add the evidence <^f the presbyter ('onstantine (A.D. 488). who, in the life of St. 
Germain, calls the Armorican rebels mobilem et indisciplinatum populum. See 
the Histojians of France, toni. i. p. GJ3. 

^^•5 1 thought it necessary to enter my protest against this part of the system of 
the Abbe Dubos, which Montesquieu has so vigorously opposed. See Esprit des 
Loix, 1. XXX. c. 24.* 

1^^ Bperap-riav /xeVroi 'Pw/jiatoi ai'acroScracr^at ovk4ki, Itrynv, are the WOrds of PrO- 
copius (de Bell. Vandal. 1. i. c. 2, p. 181, Louvre edition) in a very important 
passage, which has been too much neglected. Even Bede (Hist. Gent. Anglican. 
1. i. c. 12, p. 50, edit. Smith) acknowledges that the Romans finally left Britain in 
the reign of Konorius. Yet our modern historians and antiquaries extend the 
term of their dominion ; and there are some who allow only llie interval of a few 
months between their departure and the arrival of the Saxons. 

i'<* Bede has not forgotten the occasional aid of the legions against the Scots 
and Picts ; and more authentic proof will hereafter be produced, that the in- 
dependent Britons raised 12,000 men for the service of the emperor Anthemius, in 
Gaul. 

^"■' I owe it to myself, and to historic truth, to declare, \\\n,t some circumstances 
in this paragraph are founded only on conjecture and analogy. The stubbornness 
of our language has sometimes forced me to deviate from "the condiiioiial into 
the indicative jnood. 

^^^ Upo? KOI? if MpiTTavvia jroAei?. ZosimuS, 1. vi. p. 383. 



* See Memoires de Gallet sur I'Origine des Bretons, quoted by Daru, Histoire 
de Bretagne, i. p. 57. According to the opinion of these authors, the government 
of Armorica was xuouarchical from the period of its independence of the Konian 
empire. — M. 



80 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

privileges and importance. ^^^ Each of these cities, as in all 
the other provinces of the empire, formed a legal corpora- 
tion, for the purpose of regulating their domestic policy ; 
and tlie powers of municipal government were distributed 
among annual magistrates, a select senate, and the assembly 
of the ])eople, according to the original model of tlie Roman 
constitution.^^^ The management of a common revenue, the 
exercise of civil and criminal jurisdiction, and the habits of 
public counsel and command, were inherent to these petty 
republics ; and when they asserted their independence, the 
youth of the city, and of the adjacent districts, would natu- 
rally range themselves under the standard of the magistrate. 
But the desire of obtaining the advantages, and of escaping 
the burdens, of political society, is a perpetual and inex- 
haustible source of discord ; nor can it reasonably be pre- 
sumed, that the restoration of British freedom was exempt 
from tumult and faction. The preeminence of birth and 
fortune must have been frequently violated by bold and 
popular citizens ; and the haughty nobles, who complained 
that they were become the subjects of their own servants,^^^ 
would sometimes regret the reign of an arbitrary monarch. 
II. The jurisdiction of each city over the adjacent country, 
was supported by tlie patrimonial influence of the principal 
senators; and tlie smaller towns, the villages, and tlie pro- 
prietors of land, consulted their own safety by adhering to 
the shelter of these rising republics. The sphere of their 
attraction was proportioned to the respective degrees of 
their wealth and populousness ; but the hereditary lords of 
nmple possessions, who were not oppressed by the neighbor- 
hood of any powerful city, aspired to the rank of inde- 
pendent princes, and boldly exercised the riglits of peace 
and war. The gardens and villas, which exhibited some 
faint imitation of Italian elegance, would soon be converted 
into strong castles, the refuge, in time of danger, of the ad- 

1'' Two cilies of Britain were vnaiicipia, nine colonies, ten Latiijure clovaics 
twelve stipendlaricE of eminent note. Tins detail is taken from Kicliard of Ciren- 
cester, de Sitvi Brilanni:o, p. ?.C>; and though it may not geem probable that he 
wrote from the MSS. of a Koman general, he shows a genuine knowledge of 
antiquity, very extraordinary for a monk of the fourteenth century.* 

18-^ See Mafiei Verona Illustrata, part i. 1. v. pp. 83-lOG. 

183 Leges restitnit. libprtatemque redncit, 

Et servos famulis non sinit esse suis. 

Itineiar. Ilutil. 1. i. 215. 



* The names may be found in ^Nliitaker's Hist, of Manchester, vol. ii. 330, 379, 
Turner, llist. Anglo-Saxons, i. 21G.— M. 



OP THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 81 

jacent country :^^^ tlie procluee of the land Avas applied to 
purchase arms and horses; to maintain a military force of 
slaves, of peasants, and of licentious followers ; and the 
chieftain might assume, within his own domain, the powei's 
of a civil magistrate. Several of these Britisli chiefs might 
be the genuine posterity of ancient kings; and many moi'C 
would be tempted to adopt tliis honorable genealogy, and to 
vindicate their hereditary claims, which Iiad been suspended 
by the usurpation of the Caesars.^^^ Their situation and 
their hopes would dispose them to affect the dress, the lan- 
guage, and tlie customs of their ancestors. If the princes of 
Britain relapsed into barbarism, while the cities stuxliously 
preserved the laws and manners of Rome, tlie whole island 
must have been gradually di\ icled by tlie distinction of two 
national parties ; again broken into a thousand subdivisions 
of war and faction, by the various provocations of interest 
and resentment. The public strength, instead of being 
united against a foreign enemy, was consumed in obscure 
and intestine quarrels; and the personal merit which had 
placed a successful leader at the head of his equals, might 
enable him to subdue the freedom of some neighboring 
cities; and to claim a rank among the tyrants^^^ who in- 
fested Britain after the dissolution of the Roman govern- 
ment. III. The British church might be composed of thirty 
or forty Bishops,^^"^ with an adequate proportion of the in- 
ferior clergy; and the want of riches (for they seem to have 
been poor^****) would compel them to deserve the public es- 
teem, by a decent and exemplar^' behavior. The interest, 
as well as the temper of the clergy, was favorable to the 
peace and union of their distracted country : those salutary 
lessons might be frequently inculcated in their popular dis- 
<;ourses ; and the episcopal synods were the only councils 
that could pretend to the weight and authority of a national 

IS* An inscriptioH <apucl Sirmond. Not, ad Sidoii. Apollinar. p. 59) describes 
a castla^ cum mum ot portis^ t.itioiii onuuuni, erected by Dardaiius on \\\^ own 
estate, near Si.steroii, in the second Narbonnese, and named by liim Theopolis. 

IS'' The establishment of their power v/ould have been easy indeed, if we < ould 
Adopt the impracticable scheme of a lively and learned antiquarian; Avho su]>- 
poses that the BriliGh inonarchs of the Sv'veral tribes -coniiimed to reign, though 
with subordinate jurisdiction, from tlie time of Claudius to that of Ilonoriiis. 
See Wiiitaker'g History of Manchester, vol. i, pi). U-u-l^)!. 

"^^ ' \kK' oiiavrro rvpa.vvei.<i air' avTov ip.iv€. Procxipius, da Bell. Vandal. 1, 1. c, 
2, p. 18L Britannia fertilis provincia tyrannorum, was the expression of Jeroin, 
in the year 415 (torn, ii, p, -55, iid Ctesipliont). By tlie pilfjrims, who resorted 
-every year to the Holy Land, the monlc .of Bethlem. received the earliest aiwl 
most iiecurate intojligenoo. 

^^'^ See Bingliam'sJEcclcs. Antiquities^, vol i. 1. ix. c, C, p. n04, 

1-3 It is reported of three British blslioy.s who assisted at the council of llimini, 
J\..T). 359, tarn pauperos fnisge nt nihil haberent. Suipicivis Scverus, Hist, Sacra, 
L n. J). 420, Some of the brethren,, liowever., were in •better .circumstaajceB. 

YoL, IIL — 6 



82 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

assembly. In such councils, where the princes and magis- 
trates sat promiscuously with the bishops, the important af- 
fairs of the state, as well as of the church, might be freely 
debated ; differences reconciled, alliances formed, contribu- 
tions imposed, wise resolutions often concerted, and some- 
times executed ; and there is reason to believe, that, in mo- 
ments of extreme danger, a Pendragon^ or Dictator, was 
elected by the general consent of the Britons. These pas- 
toral cares, so worthy of the episcopal character, were inter- 
rupted, however, by zeal and superstition ; and the British 
clergy incessantly labored to eradicate the Pelagian heresy, 
which they abhorred, as the peculiar disgrace of their native 
country .^^^ 

It is somewhat remarkable, or rather it is extremely 
natural, that the rcA^'olt of Britain and Armorica should 
have introduced an appearance of liberty into the obedient 
provinces of Gaul. In a solemn edict, ^^*^ filled with the 
strongest assurances of that paternal affection which princes 
so often express, and so seldom feel, the emperor Honorius 
promulgated his intention of convening an annual assembly 
of the seven 2^^'ovinces : a name peculiarly appropriated to 
Aquitain and the ancient Narbonnese, which had long since 
exchanoed their Celtic rudeness for the useful and elesrant 
arts of Italy.-^^^ Aries, the seat of government and com- 
merce, was appointed for the place of the assembly ; whicli 
regularly continued twenty-eight days, from the fifteenth of 
August to the thirteenth of Septembei", of every year. It 
consisted of the Praetorian praefect of the Gauls ; of seven 
provincial governors, one consular, and six presidents ; of 
the magistrates, and perhaps the bishops, of about sixty 
cities ; and of a competent, though indefinite, number of the 
most honorable and opulent possessors of land, who might 
justly be considered as the representatives of their country. 
They were empowered to inter|)ret and communicate the 
laws of their sovereign ; » to expose the grievances and 
wishes of tlieir constituents ; to moderate the excessive or 
unequal Aveight of taxes ; and to deliberate on every subject 

189 Consult Usher, de Antiq. Eccles. Britamiicar. o. 8-12. 

i** See the correct text of tliis edict, as published by Sinnond (Not. ad. Sidon. 
Apolliii. p. 147). niuciuar of Khcinis, who assigns a place to the bishops. ha.(\ 
probably seen (in tlic ninth cent(iry) a more perfect copy. Dubos, Hist. Critique 
de la Monarchie Fran^oise, torn. pp. 241-255. 

11 It is evident from the Ao/jY/a, that the seven provinces were the Vieniiensis, 
the maritime Alps, the tirst and secord Narboniiese, Novempopiilanin, and the 
first and second Aqnilain. In the room of the first Aquitain, the Abbe Dubos, 
on tlio Authority of Hiucmar, desires to introduce the lirst Lugduneiisis,or Lyon* 
nese. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 83 

of local or national importance, that could tend to the rest,o- 
ration of the peace and prosperity of the seven provinces. 
If such an institution, which gave the people an interest in 
their own government, had been universally estaVjlished by 
Trajan or the Antonines, the seeds of public wisdom and 
virtue might have been cherished and propagated in the 
empire of Rome. The privileges of the subject would have 
secured the throne of the monarch ; the abuses of an arbi- 
trary administration might have been prevented, in some 
degree, or corrected, by the intei'position of these repre- 
sentative assemblies ; and the country would have been de- 
fended against a foreign enemy by the arms of natives and 
freemen. Under the mild and generous influence of liberty, 
the Roman empire miglit have remained invincible and im- 
mortal ; or if its excessive magnitude, and the instability of 
human affairs, had opposed such perpetual continuance, its 
vital and constituent members might have separately pre- 
served their vigor and independence. But in the decline of 
the empire, when every principle of health and life had been 
exhausted, the tardy api)lication of this partial remedy was 
incapable of producing any important or salutary effects. 
The emperor Ilonorius expresses his surprise, that he must 
compel the reluctant provinces to accept a privilege which 
they should ardently have solicited. A fine of three, or 
even five, pounds of gold, was imposed on the absent repre- 
sentatives ; who seemed to have declined this imaginary gift 
of a free constitution, as the last and most cruel insult of 
their oppressors. 



84 THE DECLINE AND FALL 



CHAPTER XXXII. 

ARCADIUS EMPEROK OF THE EAST. ADMINISTRATION AND 

DISGRACE OF EUTROPIUS. REVOLT OF GAINAS. PERSE- 
CUTION OF ST. JOHN CIIRYSOSTOM. THEODCSIUS II. EM- 
PEROR OF THE EAST. HIS SISTER PULCHERIA. HIS WIFE 

EUDOCIA. THE PERSIAN WAR, AND DIVISION OF ARMENIA. 

The division of the Roman world between the sons of 
Theodosins marks the final establishment of the empire of 
the East, which, from the reign of Arcadius to the taking of 
Constantinople by the Turks, subsisted one thousand and 
fifty-eight years, in a state of premature and perpetual de- 
cay. The sovereign of that empire assumed, and obstinately 
retained, the vain, and at length fictitious, title of Emperor 
of the Romans ; and the hereditary appel ations of C^sab 
and Augustus continued to declare, that he Avas the legiti- 
mate successor of the first of men, who had reigned over tlie 
first of nations. The palace of Constantinople rivalled, and 
perhaps excelled, the magnificence of Persia; and the elo- 
quent sermons of St. Chrysostom ^ celebrate, while they 
condemn, the pompous luxury of the reign of Arcadius. 
" The emperor," says he, " wears on his head either a dia- 
dem, or a crown of gold, decorated with precious stones of 
inestimable value. These ornaments, and his pui-ple gar- 
ments, are reserved for his sacred person alone; and liis robes 
of silk are embroidered with the figures of golden dragons. 
His throne is of massy gold. Whenever he appears in ])ublic, 
lie is surrounded by his courtiers, his guards, and his attend- 
ants. Tlieir spears, their shields, their cuirasses, the bridles 
and trappings of their horses, have either the substance or 
the appearance of gold ; and the large splendid boss in the 
midst of their shield is encircled with smaller bosses, which 
represent the shape of the human eye. Tlie two mules that 

1 Fatlier Montfaucon, who, by the command of liis Benedictine superiors, was 
compelled (see Longeuruana, tom. i. p. 205) to exe(;ute the laborious edition of St. 
Chrysostom, in thirteen volumes in folio (Paris, IToS), amused liimself with ex- 
tractintr from that immeni^e collection of morals, some curious anfit/nifiet:, which 
illustrate the manners of the Tlieoilosiau age (see Chrysostom, Opera, tom. xiii. 
pp. 192- IDG), and his French Dissertation, in the M^moires de I'Acad. des la- 
criptious, tom. xiii. pp. 474-490. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 85 

draw the chariot of the monareli are perfectly white, and 
shining all over with gold. The chariot itself, of pure and 
solid gold, attracts the admiration of the spectators, who 
contemplate the purple curtains, the snowy carpet, the size 
of the precious stones, and the resplendent plates of gold, 
that glitter as they are agitated by the motion of the car- 
riage. The Imperial pictures are white, on a blue ground ; 
the emperor appears seated on his throne, with his arms, his 
horses, and his guards beside him; and his vanquished ene- 
mies in chains at his feet." The successors of Constantine 
established their perpetual residence in the royal city, which 
he had erected on the verge of Europe and Asia. Inacces- 
sible to the menaces of their enemies, and perhaps to the 
complaints of their people, they received, with each wind, 
the tributary productions of every climate; while the im- 
pregnable strength of their capital continued for ages to 
defy the hostile attempts of the Barbarians. Their do- 
minions were bounded by the Adriatic and the Tigris; and 
the whole interval of twenty-five days' navigation, which 
separated the extreme cold of Scythia from the torrid zone 
of ^thiopia,^ was comprehended with the limits of the em- 
pire of the East. The populous countries of that empire 
were the seat of art and learning, of luxury and Avealth ; 
and the inhabitants, who had assumed the language and 
manners of Greeks, styled themselves, with some appearance 
of truth, the most enlightened and civilized portion of tlie 
liuman species. The form of government was a pure and 
simple monarchy ; the name of the Roman Republic, which 
so long preserved a faint tradition of freedom, was confined 
to the Latin provinces; and the princes of Constantinople 
measured their greatness by the servile obedience of their 
peoj^le. They were ignorant how much this passive dispo- 
sition enerA-ates and degrades every faculty of the mind. 
The subjects, who had resigned their will to the absolute 
commands of a master, were equally incapable of guarding 
their lives and fortunes against the assaults of the Barba- 
rians, or of defend ino' their reason from the terrors of 
superstition. 

2 According to the loose reckoning, thnt a ship conld sail, with a fair wind 
1000 stadia, or 12.5 miles, in the revolulioii of a day and night, IModorus Siculus 
computes ten days from the Pulus M(Eotis to RhodTiS, and four days from Rhodes 
to Alexandria. Tlie navigation of the Nile from Alexandria to Syene, under the 
tropic of Cancer, required, as it was a^^ainst the stream, tea days more. Diodor. 
Sicul. torn. i. 1. iii. p. 200, edit. Wessehng, He might, without much impropriety, 
measure the extreme heat from the verge of the torrid zone ; hut he speaks of 
the Moeotis in the 47th degree of northern latitude, as if it lay within the polar 
circle. 



86 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

The first events of the reign of Arcadius and Honorius 
are so intimately connected, that the rebellion of the Goths, 
and the fall of Riifinus, have already claimed a place in the 
history of the West. It has already been observed, that 
Eutropius,^ one of the principal eunuchs of the palace of 
Constantinople, succeeded the haughty minister whose ruin 
he had accomplished, and whose vices he soon imitated. 
Every order of the state bowed to the new favorite ; and 
their tame and obsequious submission encouraged him to in- 
sult the laws, and, what is still more difficult and dangerous, 
the manners of his country. Under the weakest of the ])rede- 
cessors of Arcadius, the reign of the eunuchs had been secret 
and almost invisible. They insinuated themselves into the 
confidence of the jM'ince ; but their ostensible functions were 
confined to the menial service of the wardrobe and Imperial 
bed-chamber. They might direct, in a whis[)er, the public 
counsels, and blast, by their malicious suggestions, the fame 
and fortunes of the most illustrious citizens ; but they never 
presumed to stand forward in the front of emj^ii-e,'* or to 
profane the public honors of the state. Eutropius was the 
first of his artificial sex, who dared to assume the character 
of a Roman magistrate and general.^ Sometimes, in the 
presence of the blushing senate, he ascended the tribunal to 
pronounce judgment, or to repeat elaborate harangues ; and, 
sometimes, appeared on horseback, at the head of his troops, 
in the dress and armor of a hero. The disregard of custom 

3 Barthius, avIio adored his aiithor with the blind superstition of a commenta- 
tor, gives the prefereiiee to the two books whidi Claiidian composed against 
Eutropius, al)ove all his other proiluctious (Baillet, rlugemens des Savans. torn, 
iv. p. 227). They are indeed a very elegant and spirited satire ; and would be 
more valuable iii an historical light, if the invective were less vague and more 
temperate. 

* After lamenting the progress of the eunuchs in the Ronian palace, and de- 
fining their proper functions, Claudian adds, 

A f route reoedant 

Imperii. 

In Eutrop. i. 422. 

Yet it does not appear that the eunuch had assumed any of the efficient offices of 
the empire, and he is styled only Fn^jpositus sacri cubiculi, iu the edict of his 
banishment. See Cod. Theod. 1. ix. tit. xl. leg 17. 

6 Jan\que oblita sui, nee sobria divitiis mens 

In miseras leireiji hominumque negotia ludit. 

•■ Judicat eunuchus 

Arma otiam violare parat 

Claudian (i. 229-270), with that mixture of indignation and humor, which always 
pleases in a satiric poet, describes the insolent folly of the eunuch, the disgrace 
of the empire, and the joy of the Goths. 



Et seutit jam deesse viros. 



Gaudet, citm viderit, hostis, 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 87 

and decency always betrays a weak and ill-regulated mind; 
nor does Eiitropius seem to have compensated for the folly 
of tlie design by any superior merit or ability in the execu- 
tion. His former habits of life had not introduced liim to 
the study of the laws, or the exercises of the field ; his awk- 
ward and unsuccessful attempts provoked the secret con- 
tempt of the spectators ; the Goths expressed tlieir wish that 
such a general might always command the armies of Rome ; 
and the name of the minister was branded with ridicule, 
more pernicious, perhaps, than hatred, to a public cliaracter. 
Tlie subjects of Arcadius were exasperated by the recollec- 
tion, that this deformed and decrepit eunuch,^ who so per- 
versely mimicked the actions of a man, was born in the 
most abject condition of servitude; that before he entered 
the Imperial palace, he liad been successively sold and pur- 
chased, by a hundred masters, who had exhausted his 3'outh- 
ful strength in every mean and infamous office, and at lengtli 
dismissed him, in his old age, to freedom and poverty."^ 
Wliile these disgraceful stories were circulated, and perhaps 
exaggerated, in private conversations, the vanity of the 
favorite was flattered with tlie most extraordinary honors. 
In the senate, in the capital, in the provinces, the statues of 
Eutropius were erected, in brass, or marble, decorated with 
the symbols of his civil and military virtues, and inscribed 
with the pompous title of the third founder of Constanti- 
nople. He was ])romoted to the rank of patrician^ which 
began to signify, in a popular, and even legal, acceptation, 
the father of the emperor; and the last year of the fourth 
century was polluted by the consulship of a eunuch and a 
slave. This strange and inexpiable prodigy** awakened, 

^ Tlie poet's lively description of liis deformity (i. 110-125) is confirmed by the 
authentic testimony of Chrysostom (torn. iii. p. ;384, edit. Montfaucon) ; who 
observes, that when the paint was washed away, the face of Entropins appeared 
more ngly and wrinkled tlian that of an old woman. Claudian remarks (i. 4G0), 
and the remark must have been founded on experience, that there was scarcely 
an interval between the youth and the decrepit age of a eunuch. 

7 Eutropius a])pear8 to liave been a native of Armenia or Assyria. His three 
services, which Claudian more particularly describes, were these : 1. He spent 
many years as the catamite of Ptolemy, a groom or soldier of the Imperial stables. 
2. Ptolemy gave him to the old general Arintheus, for whom he very skilfully 
exercised the profession of a pimp. 3. He was given, on lier marriage, to the 
daughter of Arintheus ; and the future consul was employed to comb her hair, 
to present the silver ewer to wash, and to fan his mistress in hot weather. See 1. 
i. 31-137. 

8 Claudian (1. i. in Eutrop. 1-22), after enumerating the various prodigies of 
monstrous births, speaking animals, showers of blood or stones, double suns, &c., 
adds, with some exaggeration. 

Omnia cesserunt eunucho consule monstra. 
The first hook conclufles with a noble speecli of the goddess of Rome to her favor- 
ite Honorius, deprecating the ntw ignominy to which she was exposed. 



88 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

however, tlie prejudices of tlie Romans. The effeminate 
consul was rejected by tlie West, as an indelible stain to tlie 
annals of the republic ; and without invoking the shades of 
Brutus and Camillus, tlie colleaccue of Eutropius, a learned 
and respectable magistrate,^ sufficiently represented the dif- 
ferent maxims of the two administrations. 

The bold and viii'orous mind of Rufinus seems to have 
been actuated by a more sanguinary and revengeful spirit, 
but the avarice of the eunuch was not less insatiate tlian 
that of the prosfect.^*^ As long as he despoiled the oppres- 
sors, who had enriched themselves with the plunder of the 
people, Eutropius might gratify his covetous disposition 
without much envy or injustice; but the progress of his 
rapine soon invaded the wealth which had been acquired by 
lawful inheritance, or laudable industry. The usual metli- 
ods of extortion were practised and improved ; and Clau- 
dian has sketched a lively and original picture of the public 
auction of the state. " The impotence of the eunuch," says 
that agreeable satirist, " has served only to stimulate his 
avarice ; the same hand which, in his servile condition, was 
exercised in petty thefts, to unlock the coffers of his master, 
now grasps the riches of the world ; and this infamous 
broker of the empire appreciates and divides the Roman 
provinces from Mount Hsemus to the Tigris. One man, at 
the expense of his villa, is made proconsul of Asia ; a sec- 
ond purcliases Syria with his wife's jewels; and a third la- 
ments that he has exchanged his paternal estate for the 
government of Bithynia. In the antechamber of Eutropius, 
a large tablet is exposed to public view, which marks the 
respective prices of the provinces. The different value of 
Pontus, of Galatia, of Lydia, is accurately distinguished. 
Lycia may be obtained for so many tliousand pieces of 
gold ; but the opulence of Phrygia will require a more con- 
siderable sum. The eunuch wishes to obliterate, by the 
general disgrace, his personal ignominy ; and as he has been 
sold himself, he is desirous of selling the rest of mankind. 
In the eager contention, the balance, which contains the 
fate and fortunes of the province, often trembles on the 
beam; and till one of the scales is inclined, by a superior 

" Fl. IVrallius Theodorus, whose civil honors, and pliilosophicil works, have 
been celebrated by Claudian in a ven' elegant panegyric. 

I*' MeGvuiu 6e rjbij t J ttAo t ..•, drunk with richos, is tlie forcible expression of 
Zosinuis (1. V. p. 301) ; and the avarice of Entro<;ius i,s equally exeonited in the 
Lexicon of Sv.ilas a'ul tiuM hronicle of IVar'-ollinns. ('hry-'='^^^t:oni IkhI often ;id- 
monishcd the favorite, of ihe vanity and daj»!;cr of imnKHlcratc wcaltli, toiu. iii. 
p. 381. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPinE. 89 

wci'glit, tliG mind of the impartial judc^e remains in anxious 
suspense. ^^ Such," continues tlie indignant poet, " are tlie 
fruits of Roman Valor, of the defeat of Antiochus, and of 
the trium])li of Pompey." This venal prostitution of public 
honors secured tlie impunity oi future crimes; but the 
riches, which Eutropius derived from confiscation, were 
already stained Avith injustice ; since it was decent to ac- 
cuse, and to condemn, the proprietors of the wealth, which 
he was impatient to confiscate. Some noble blood was shed 
by the hnnd of the executioner; and the most inhospitable 
extremities of the empire were filled with innocent and 
illustrious exiles. Among the generals and consuls of the 
East, Abundantius ^^ had reason to dread the first effects of 
tlie resentment of Eutropius. He had been guilt}' of the 
unpardonable crime of introducing that abject slave to the 
palace of Constantinople ; and some degree of praise must 
be allowed to a powerful and ungrateful favorite, who was 
satisfied with, the disgrace of his benefactor. x\bundantius 
was stripped of his ample fortunes by an Imperial rescript, 
and banished to Pit3^us, on the Euxine, the last frontier of 
tlie Roman woi'ld : where he subsisted by the precarious 
mercy of the Barbarians, till he could obtain, after the fall 
of Eutropius, a milder exile at Sidon in Pha?nicia. The de- 
struction of Timasius ^^ required a more serious and regular 
mode of attack. That great officer, the master-general of 
the armies of Theodosius, had signalized his valor by a de- 
cisive victory, which he obtained over the Goths of Thes- 
saly ; but he was too prone, after the example of his sover- 
eign, to enjoy the luxury of peace, and to abandon his con- 
fidence to wicked and designing flatterers. Timasius had 
des])ised the public clamor, by promoting an infamous de- 
pendent to the command of a cohort ; and he deserved to 

" certantum srepe diiorum 

Divevsum suspeiidit onus : cum poiulere judex 
Vergit, et in geininas initat xjroviiicia lances. 

Claudiaii (i. 192-209) so curiously distinguishes the ciicumstances of the sale, that 
they all seem to allude to partii-ulax' anecdotes. 

1- Clauilian (i. IGi-lTO) mentions the (juUt and exile of Abundantius ; nor 
could he fail to quote the example of the artist, who made Ihe lirst trial of the 
brazen bull, which he presented to Phalaris. See Zosimus, 1. v. j). 302. Jerom. 
tom. i. p. 26. The difference of place is easily reconciled; but the decisive 
authoiity of Asterius of .Vmasia (Orat. iv. p. 7f). aj)ud Tilleinont, Hist, des Empe- 
reurs, tom v. p. 435) must turn the s(!ale in favor of Pityua. 

^^ Suidas (most probaljlv from the history of Eunapius) has given a very un, 
favorable picture of Timasius. The account of his accuser, the judges, trial, &c. 
is perfectly airreeable to the practice of ancient and modern courts (see Zosimus» 
1. V. pp. 20S, 200, ;5no). J am almost tempted to quote the romance of a creat 
master (Fieldiny's Works, vol. iv. p. 49, &c., 8vo edit.), which may be considered 
as the history of human nature. 



90 THE DECLINE AND FALL * 

feel the ingratitude of Bargus, who was secretly instigated 
by the favorite to accuse his patron of a treasonable conspi- 
racy. The general was arraigned before the tribunal of Ar- 
cadius himself ; and the principal eunuch stood by the side 
of the throne to suggest the questions and answers of his 
sovereign. But as this form of trial might be deemed par- 
tial and arbitrary, the fui'ther inquiry into tlie crimes of Ti- 
masius was delegated to Saturninus and Procopius ; the 
former of consular rank, the latter still respected as the 
father-in-law of the emperor Valens. The appearances of a 
fair and legal proceeding were maintained by the blunt 
honesty of Procopius ; and he yielded with reluctance to 
the obsequious dexterity of his colleague, who pronounced 
a sentence of condemnation a2:ainst the unfortunate Tima- 
sms. His immense riches were confiscated, in the name of 
the emperor, and for the benefit of the favorite ; and-he Avas 
doomed to perpetual exile at Oasis, a solitary spot in the 
midst of the sandy deserts of Libya.^^ Secluded from all 
human converse, the master-general of the Roman armies 
was lost forever to the world ; but the circumstances of his 
fate have been related in a various and contradictory man- 
ner. It is insinuated that Eu tropins despatched a private 
order for his secret execution. ^^ It was reported, that, in 
attempting to escape from Oasis, he perished in the desert, 
of thirst and hunger ; and that his dead body was found on 
the sands of Libya.^^ It has been asserted, with more con- 
fidence, that his son Syagrius, after successfully eluding the 
pursuit of the agents and emissaries of the court, collected 
a band of African robbers ; that he rescued Timasius from 
the place of his exile ; and that both tlie father and the son 
disappeared from the knowledge of mankind." But the 
ungrateful Bargus, instead of being suffered to possess the 

" The great Oasis was one of the spots in the sands of Libja, watered with 
springs, and capable of producing wheat, barley and palm-trees. Tt was about 
three days' journey from north to south, about half a day in breadth, and at the 
distance of about five days' march to the west of Abydus, on the Nile. See 
D'Anville, Description de I'Egypte, pp. 186, 187, 188. The barren desert which 
encompasses Oasis (Zosinnis, 1. v. p. 300) has suggested the idea of comparativo 
fertility, and even the epithet of the happy Island (Herodot. iii. 26). 

1^ The line of Claudian, in Eutrop. 1. i. 180. 

Marmaricus claris violatur caedibus Hammon,* 

evidently alludes to his persuasion of the death of Timasius. 

1" Sozonien, 1. viii. c. 7. He speaks from report, ai? rtfo? envOoinev. 

17 Zosiinus, 1. V. p. 300. Yet he seems to suspect that this rumor was spread 
by the friends of Eutropius. 



* A fragment of Eunapius confirms this account. " Thus having deprived this 
;reat person of his life— a eunuch, a man, a slave, a consul, a minister of the 
>e(l-chamber, one bred in camps." Mai, p. 283, in Niebuhr. 87— M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 91 

reward of guilt, was soon after circumvented and destroyed, 
by the more powerful villany of the minister himself, who 
retained sense and spirit enough to ablior the instrument of 
his own crimes. 

The public hatred, and the despair of individuals, con- 
tinually threatened, or seemed to threaten, the personal 
safety of Eutropius ; as well as of the numerous adherents, 
who were attached to his fortune, and had been promoted 
by his venal favor. For tlieir mutual defence, he contrived 
the safeguard of a law, which vioLated every principle of 
humanity and justice.^^ I. It is enacted, in the name, and 
by the authority, of Arcadius, that all those Avho shall con- 
spire, either with subjects or with strangers, against the 
lives of any of the persons whom the emperor considers as 
the members of his own body, shall be punished with death 
and confiscation. This species of fictitious and metai)hori- 
cal treason is extended to protect, not only the illustrious 
officers of the state and army, who are admitted into the 
sacred consistory, but likewise the principal domestics of 
the palace, the senators of Constantinople, the military c(mi- 
manders, and the civil magistrates of the provinces; a vague 
and indefinite list, which, under the successors of Constan- 
tine, included an obscure and numerous train of subordinate 
ministers. II. This extreme severity might perhaps be jus- 
tified, had it been only directed to secure the representa- 
tives of the sovereign from any actual violence in the exe- 
cution of their office. But the whole body of Imperial de- 
pendents claimed a privilege, or rather impunity, which 
screened them, in the loosest moments of their lives, from 
the hasty, perhaps the justifiable, resentment of their fellow- 
citizens ; and, by a strange perversion of the laws, the same 
degree of guilt and punishment was applied to a private 
quarrel, and to a deliberate conspiracy against the emperor 
and the empire. The edict of Arcadius most positively and 
most absurdly declares, that in sucli cases of treason, 
thoughts and actions ought to be punished with equal se- 
verity ; that the knowledge of a mischievous intention, 
unless it be instantly revealed, becomes equally crim- 
es See the Theodosian Code. 1. ix-. tit. 14, ad legem Corneliam de Sicariis, leg. 
3, and the Code of Justinian, 1. ix. tit. viii. ad legem Juliam de Majestate, leg. 5. 
The alteration of the title, from murder to treason, was an improvement of the 
subtle Tribonian. Godefroy, in a formal dissertation, which he has inserted in 
his Commentary, illustrates this law of Arcadius, and explains all the difficult 
passages which had been perverted by the jurisconsults of the darker ages. See 
torn. iii. pp. 88-111. 



92 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

inal with the intention itself ; ^^ and that those rash men, 
who shall presume to solicit the pardon of traitors, shall 
themselves be branded with public and perpetual infamy. 
III. "With regard to the sons of tlie traitors" (con- 
tinues the emperor), " although they might to share the 
punishment, since they will probably imitate the guilt, of 
their parents, yet, by the special effect of our Imperial len- 
ity, we grant them their lives ; but, at the same time, we 
declare them incapable of inheriting, either on the father's 
or on the mother's side, or of receiving any gift or legacy, 
from the testament either of kinsmen or of strangers. Stig- 
matized with hereditary infamy, excluded from the hopes 
of honors or fortune, let them endure the pangs of poverty 
and contempt, till they shall consider life as a calamity, and 
death as a comfort and relief." In such words, so well 
adapted to insult the feelings of mankind, did the emperor, 
or rather his favorite eunuch, applaud the moderation of a 
law, which transferred the same unjust and inhuman penal- 
ties to the children of all those who had seconded, or who 
had not disclosed, their fictitious conspiracies. Some of 
the noblest regulations of Roman jurisprudence have been 
suffered to expire : but this edict, a convenient and forci- 
ble engine of ministerial tyranny, w\as carefully inserted in 
the codes of Theodosius and Justinian ; and the same max- 
ims have been revived in modern ages, to protect the elec- 
tors of Germany, and the cardinals of tlie church of Rome.-'^ 
Yet these sanguinary laws, which spread terror among a 
disarmed and dispirited people, were of too weak a texture 
to restrain the bold enterprise of Tribigild -^^ the Ostrogoth. 
The colony of that warlike nation, which had been planted 
by Theodosius in one of the most fertile districts of Pliry- 
gia,^'^ impatiently compared the slow returns of laboi-ious 

^^Bartolus understands a simple and naked consciousness, without any sign 
of approbation or concurrence. For this opinion, says Baldus, he is now roasting 
in hell. For my ow:i part, continues the discreet Ileineccins (Element, dur. 
Civil. 1. iv. p. 411'), 1 must approve the theory of Bartolns ; but in practice I 
should incline to the sentiments of Baldus. Yet P.artoliis was gravely quoted by 
the lawyers of Cardinal ivirliclieu ; and Eutropius was indirectly guilty of the 
murder of the virtuous De Thou. 

2" Godefroy, torn. iii. p. 8!). It is, however, suspected, that this law, so repug- 
nant to the niaxims of Germanic fi-eedom, has been surreptitiously added to the 
golden bull. 

-1 A coi)ious and circumstantial narrative (which he might have reserved for 
more imporlant events) is bestowed by Znsimus (1. v. pp. o{)4-;Ul') on the revolt of 
Tribigild and Gainas. See likewi e Socrate.-^, 1. vi. c. (>, and Sozonien, 1. viii. c. 4. 
The second book of Claudian against Eutropius is a line, thougli imperfect, piece 
of history. 

^^ Claudian (in Eutrop. 1. ii. 2.')7-250) very accurat'^ly observes, that the aiicient 
name and nation of the Phrygiar.s extended very far on every side, till their 
limits were contracted by the colonics of the Bithyniansof Thra<'e, of the Greeks, 
and at last of the Gauls. 1-lis description (ii. ?57-i'T2) of the fertility of Phrygia, 
aud of the lour rivers that produced gold, is just aud picturesque. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIKE. 93 

husbandry with tlie successful rapine and liberal rewards of 
Alaric ; and their leader resented, as a personal affront, his 
own ungracious reception in tlie palace of Constantinople. 
A soft and wealthy province, in the heart of the em])ire, 
was astonished by the sound of war; and the faitliful vassal, 
who had been disregarded or oppressed, was again respected, 
as soon as he resumed the hostile character of a Barbarian. 
The vineyards and fruitful fields, between the rapid Mar- 
syas and the winding Majander,-^ were consumed witli fire ; 
the decayed Avails of the cities crumbled into dust, at the 
first stroke of an enemy; the trembling inhabitants escaped 
from a bloody massacre to the shores of tlie Hellespont ; 
and a considerable part of Asia Minor ^Y^^s desolated by tlie 
rebellion of Tribigild. His rapid progress was checked by 
the resistance of the peasants of Pamphylia ; and tlie Os- 
trogoths, attacked in a narrow pass, between the city of 
Selga},^* a deep morass, and the cragsry cliffs of Mount 
Taurus, were defeated with the loss of their bravest troops. 
But the si)irit of their chief was not daunted by misfor- 
tune ; and his army was continually recruited by swarms of 
Barbarians and outlaws, who were desirous of exercising 
the profession of robbery, under the more honorable names 
of war and conquest. The rumors of the success of Tribi- 
gild might for some time be suppressed by fear, or disguised 
by flattery ; yet they gradually alarmed both the court and 
the ca])ital. Every misfortune was exaggerated in dark and 
doubtful hints ; and the future designs of the rebels became 
the subject of anxious conjecture. Whenever Tribigild ad- 
vanced into the inland country, tlie Romans were inclined 
to suppose that he meditated the passage of Mount Taurus, 
and the invasion of Syria. If he descended towards the 
sea, they imputed, and perhaps suggested, to the Gothic 
chief the more dangerous project of arming a fleet in the 
liarbors of Ionia, and of extending his de])redations along 
the maritime coast, from the mouth of the Nile to the port 
of Constantinople. The approach of danger, and the ob- 
stinacy of Tribigild, Avho refused all terms of accommoda- 
tion, compelled Eutropius to summon a council of war.'** 

23 Xeiiophon, Anabasis, 1. i. pp. 11, 12, edit. Ilutehinson. Strabo, 1. xii. p. 805, 
edit. AiiiHtel. Q. Curt. 1. iii. c. 1. Cliituli;iii coiiipaies the junction of tlio Mui- 
syas and Maiander to tliafc of the Saone and the Jihone ; wilii thiii difference, liow- 
ever, tliat the smaller of ihe Phrygian rivers is not accelerated, but retarded, by 
the larger. 

2^ Selgic, a colony of the Lacedajmonians, had formerly numbered twenty thou- 
sand citizens : but in the age of Zosimus it was reduced to a noAixfiu or small 
town. See Cellarius, Geogiaph. Anti(i. torn. ii. p. 117. 

2^ The council of Eutropius, inClaudian, may be compared to that of Domitiau 



94 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

After claiming for himself the privilege of a veteran soldier, 
the eunuch intrusted the guard of Thrace and the Helles- 
}3ont to Gainas the Goth, and the command of the Asiatic 
army to his favorite Leo ; two generals who differently, but 
effectually, promoted, the cause of the rebels. Leo,^^ who, 
from the bulk of his body and the dulness of his mind, was 
surnamed the Ajax of the East, had deserted his original 
trade of a woolcomber, to exercise, with much less skill and 
success, the military profession ; and his uncertain opera- 
tions were capriciously framed and executed, with an igno- 
rance of real difficulties, and a timorous neglect of every 
favorable opportunity. The rashness of the Ostrogoths had 
drawn them into a disadvantageous position between the 
Rivers Melas and Eurymedon, where they were almost be- 
seiged by the peasants of Pamphylia ; but the arrival of an 
Imperial army, instead of completing their destruction, 
afforded the means of safety and victory. Tribigild sur- 
prised the unguarded camp of the Romans, in the darkness 
of the night ; seduced the faith of the greater part of the 
Barbarian auxiliaries, and dissipated, without much effort, 
the troops, which had been corrupted by the relaxation of 
discipline, and the luxury of the capital. The discontent of 
Gainas, who had so boldly contrived and executed the death 
of Rufinus, was irritated by the fortune of his unworthy 
successor ; he accused his own dishonorable patience under 
the servile reign of a eunuch ; and the ambitious Goth was 
convicted, at least in the public opinion, of secretly foment- 
ing tlie revolt of Tribigild, with whom he was connected 
by a domestic as well as by a national alliance.^'' \Yl)en 
Gainas passed the Hellespont, to unite under his standard 
the remains of the Asiatic troops, he skilfully adapted Ids 
motions to the wishes of the Ostrogoths ; abandoning, by 
Ills retreat, the country whicli they desired to invade ; or 
facilitating by his approach, the desertion of the J>arbarian 
auxiliaries. To the Imperial court he repeatedly magnified 
the valor, the genius, the inexhaustible resources of Tribi- 
gild ; confessed his own inability to prosecute the war; and 

in the fourth Satire of Juvonal, The principal members of tlie former were 
juven.^s protervi lascivique senes ; one of them had been a cook, a second a 
\vor)h'omber. The language of tlieir orisiinal profession exposes their assumed 
dl'^jnity ; and their trilling conversation about trngedies, dancers, &c., is made 
still more ridiculous by tlie importance of the debate. 

-<i <"laudian (1. ii. 37<>-!t)n lins l)randed liim with infamy ; and Zosimus,in more 
temperate language, conlirniK his rei)r<ia('ln'S. L. v. p. ;!(i5, 

2^ The ('onsplracii of Gainas and Tribigild, which is attested by the Greek his- 
torian, had not reached tlie ears of Claudian, who attributes the revolt of the 
Ostrogoth to his own martial spirit, and the advice of hia wife. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 95 

extorted the permission of negotiating Avith liis invincible 
adversary. The conditions of peace were dictated hy the 
haughty rebel ; and tlie peremptory demand of the head of 
Eutropius revealed the author and the design of this hostile 
conspiracy. 

The bold satirist, who has indulged his discontent by 
the partial and passionate censure of the Christian emperors, 
violates the dignity, rather than the truth, of history, by 
comparing the son of Theodosius to one of those harmless 
and simple animals, who scarcely feel that they are the 
property of their shepherd. Two passions, however, fear 
and conjugal affection, awakened the languid soul of Arca- 
dius : he was terrified by the threats of a victorious Barba- 
rian ; and he yielded to the tender eloquence of his wife 
Eudoxia, who, with a flood of artificial tears, presenting her 
infant children to their father, implored his justice for some 
real or imaginary insult, which she imputed to the audacious 
eunuch.^^ The emperor's hand was directed to sign the 
condemnation of Eutropius; tlie magic spell, which during 
four years had bound the prince and the people, was in- 
stantly dissolved ; and the acclamations, that so lately 
hailed the merit and fortune of the favorite, were con- 
verted into the clamors of the soldiers and people, who re- 
proached his crimes, and pressed his immediate execution. 
In this hour of distress and despair, his only refuge was in 
the sanctuary of the church, whose priveleges he had wisely 
or profanely attempted to circumscribe ; and the most elo- 
quent of the saints, John Chrysostom, enjoyed the triumph 
of protecting a prostrate minister, whose choice had raised 
liim to the ecclesiastical throne of Constantinople. The 
archbishop, ascending the pulpit of the cathedral, that he 
might be distmctly seen and heard by an innumerable crowd 
of either sex and of every age, pronounced a seasonable 
and pathetic discourse on the forgiveness of injuries, and 
the instability of human greatness. The agonies of the 
pale and affrighted wretch, who lay grovelling under the 
table of the altar, exhibited a solemn and instructive spec- 
tacle ; and the orator, who was afterwards accused of in- 
sulting the misfortunes of Eutropius, labored to excite the 
contempt, that he might assuage the fury, of the people.^^ 

28 This anecdote, which Philostorgius alone has preserved (1. xi. c. 6, and 
Gothofred. JJissertat. pp. 451-450) is curious and important; since it connects the 
revolt of the Goths with the secret intrigues of the i^alace. 

20 See the Homily of Chrvsostom, torn. iii. pp. 381-38(5, of which the exordium is 
particularly beautiful. Socrates, 1. vi. c. 5. Sozomen, 1. viii. c. 7. Moutfaucou 



96 THE DECLINE A>7D FALL 

The i^owers of humanity, of su])erstition, and of eloquence, 
preva le 1. The empress Eucloxia was restrained by her 
own j)rejudices, or by those of lier subjects, from violating 
the sanctuai-y of the church; and Eutropius was tempted 
to capitulate, by the milder arts of persuasion, and by an 
oath, that his life should be spared .^° Careless of the dig- 
nity of their sovereign, the new ministers of the j)alace 
immediately published an edict to declare, that his late fa- 
vorite had disgraced the names of consul and patrician, to 
abolish his statues, to confiscate his wealth, and to inflict a 
perpetual exile in the island of Cyprus.^^ A despicable and 
decrepit eunuch could no longer alai'm the fears of his ene- 
mies ; nor was he capable of enjoying what yet remained, 
the comforts of peace, of solitude, and of a hapi)y climate. 
But their implacable revenge still envied him the last mo- 
ments of a miserable life, and Eutrojnus had no sooner 
touched the shores of Cyprus, than lie was hastily recalled. 
The vain hope of eluding, by a change of place, the obliga- 
tion of an oath, engaged the empress to tran.sfer the scene 
of his trial and execution from Constantinople to the adja- 
cent suburb of Chalcedon. The consul Aurelian pronounced 
the sentence ; and the motives of tliat sentence expose the 
jurisprudence of a despotic government. The crimes which 
Eutropius had committed against the people might have 
justified his death ; but he was found guilty of harnessing 
to his chariot the sacred animals, who, from their breed or 
•jolor, were reserved for the use of the emperor alone." 

While this domestic revolution was transacted, Gainas ^^ 
openly revolted from his allegiance ; united his forces, at 

(in his life of Chn'sostom, torn. xiii. p. 135) too hastily supposes that Tiibigihl 
was (ic'.ualUj in Coiistaiitiiiople ; and tliat he eominaiuleil the soklieis who were 
■onlered to seize Eutropius. Even Claudiaii, a Pagan i)oet (pn^ifat. ad 1. ii. ill 
Eutrop. 27). had mentioned the flight of the eunuc-h to t\\^ sanctuary. 

Snp;)lulterque pias huniilis prostiiitue ad arae, 
JNiiligat ii'utas voce treniente uuras. 

s^ Chryeostom. in another homily (toni. iii. p. 38G), affects to declare that 
Eutropi s would not have been tiiken, had he not deserted the church. Zosinius 
(1. V. p. .Si;)), on the contrary, pret 'mis, that his enemies foi'ced him (faoTracrarrts- 
awrot) froui the sanctuary. Yet the promise is un evidence of some ti'eaty ; and 
the strong OKsurance of Claudiau (Pra^fat. ad 1. ii. 4t!)f 

Sed tamen exemplo iion feriere tuo, 

fliav be consi(lerc<l as an evidence ol some promise. 

ai Cod. Theod. 1. ix. tit. xi. leg. 14. The date of that law (Jan. 17, A. D. SflP) is 
erroneous and corrupt: since the fall of Ivutropius could not happen till Mie 
aututnu of the sam<3 year. See Til lemon t, Hist, dee Empereurs, torn. v. p. 780. 

"- ZosimuB, 1. V. J). 313. riillostorgius, 1. xi. c. G. 

•"' ZoK.inius (1. V. pp. 313-323), Socrates (.1. vi, c. 4), Sozomen (1. viii. c. 4), and 
Tlieo<k»ret (1, v. e. 32, 33\ represent, though wiilifiome vaiious circujiuitancea, the 
coneiuracy, defeat, and deiilh of Uainas. 



OP THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 97 

Thyatira in Lydia, with those of Tribigild ; and still main- 
tained his superior ascendant over the rebellious leader of 
the Ostrogoths. The Confederate armies advanced, without 
resistance, to the straits of the Ilellespont and the Bosphorus ; 
and Arcadius was instructed to prevent the loss of his 
Asiatic dominions, by resigning his authority and his i:)erson 
to the faith of the Barbarians. The church of the holy 
martyr Euphemia, situate on a lofty eminence near Chal- 
cedon,^*^ was chosen for the 2-)lace of the interview. Gainas 
bowed with reverence at the feet of the emperor, whilst he 
required the sacrifice of Aurelian and Saturninus, two min- 
isters of consular rank ; and their naked necks were exposed, 
by the haughty rebel, to the edge of the sword, till he con- 
descended to grant them a precarious and disgraceful respite. 
The Goths, according to the terms of the agreement, were 
immediately transported from Asia into Europe ; and their 
victorious chief, who accepted the title of master-general of 
the Roman armies, soon filled Constantinople with his 
troops, and distributed among his dependents the honors 
and rewards of the empire. In his early youth, Gainas had 
passed the Danube as a suppliant and a fugitive : his eleva- 
tion had been the work of valor and fortune ; and his 
indiscreet or perfidious conduct was the cause of his rapid 
downfall. Notwithstanding the vigorous opposition of the 
archbishop, he importunately claimed for his Arian sec- 
taries the possession of a peculiar church ; and the pride of 
the Catholics wjxs offended by the public toleration of 
heresy.^^ Every quarter of Constantinople was filled with 
tumult and disorder; and the Barbarians gazed with such 
ardor on the rich shops of the jewellers, and the tables of 
the bankers, which were covered with gold and silver, that 
it was judged prudent to remove those dangerous tempta- 
tions from their sight. They resented the injurious precau- 
tion ; and some alarming attempts were made, during the 
night, to attack and destroy with fire the Imperial palace.^^ 
In this state of mutual and suspicious hostility, the guards 

S't Ocrta? Ev</)rj,ata? ixaprvftiov, is the expression of Zosimus himself (1. v. p. 314) 
who inadvertently us^s the fashionable language of the Christians. Evagrius 
describes (1- ii. c. li) the situation, architecture, relics, and miracles, of that cele- 
brated church, ill which the general council of Chalcedon was afterwards held. 

^■^ The pious remonstrances of Chrysostoni, which do not appear in his own 
writings, are strongly urged by Theodoret ; but his insinuation, that they were 
successful, is disproved by facts. Tilleniont (Hist, des Empereurs, tom. v. p. 383) 
has discovered that the emperor, to satisfy the rapacious demands of Gainas, was 
obliged to melt the i>late of the church of the apostles. 

^ The ecclesiastical historians, who sometimes guide, and sometimes follow, 
the public opinion, most conti<lently assert, that tae palace of Conslautinople 
was guarded by legions of angels. 

Vol. III.— 7 



98 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

and the people of Constantinople shut the gates, and rose in 
arms to ])revent or to punish the conspiracy of the Goths. 
During the absence of Gainas, his troops were surprised and 
oppressed ; seven thousand Barbarians perished in this 
bloody massacre. In the fury of the pursuit, the Catholics 
uncovered tlie roof, and continued to throw down flaming 
logs of wood, till they overwhelmed their adversaries, who 
had retreated to the church or conventicle of tlie Arians. 
Gainas was either innocent of the design, or too confident 
of his success ; he was astonished by the intelligence, that 
the flower of his army had been ingloriously destroyed ; that 
he himself was declared a public enemy ; and that his coun- 
tryman, Fravitta, a brave and loyal confederate, had assumed 
tlie management of the war by sea and land. The enter- 
prises of the rebel, against the cities of Thrnce, were 
encountered by a Arm and well-ordered defence ; his hungry 
soldiers were soon reduced to the grass that grew on the 
margin of the fortifications; and Gainas, who vainly re- 
gretted the wealth and luxury of Asia, embraced a des]ierate 
resolution of forcing the passage of the Hellespont. He was 
destitute of vessels ; but the woods of the Chersonesus 
afforded materials for rafts, and his intrepid Barbarians did 
not refuse to trust themselves to the waves. But Fravitta 
attentively watched the progress of their undertaking. As 
soon as they had gained the middle of the stream, the 
Roman galleys,^' impelled by the full force of oars, of the 
current, and of a favorable wind, rushed forwards in compact 
order, and with irresistible weight ; and the Hellespont was 
covered Avith the fragments of the Gothic shipwreck. After 
the destruction of his hopes, and the loss of many thousands 
of his bravest soldiers, Gainas, who could no longer aspire 
to govern or to subdue tlie Romans, determined to resume 
the independence of a savnge life. A light and active body 
of Barbarian liorse, disengaged from their infantry and 
baggage, might ])erform in eight or ten days a march of 
three hundred miles from the Hellespont to the Danube;^ 

37 Zosimus (1. V. p. ol9) mentions these galleys by the name of Libununns,}ind 
observes, that they were an swift (without explaining the ditTerence between 
them) as the vessels wiili lifty oars ; but that they were tar inferior in speed to the 
triremes, which had been long disused. Yet he reasonably oonoliules, from the 
testimony of Tolybins, that galleys of a still largei- size had been constriietsd in 
the runic wars. Since the establishment of the Konian empire over the Mediter- 
ranean, the useless art of building large ships of war had probably been neglected, 
and at length forgotten, 

3J Chishull (Travels, pp. Gl-(;.3, 72-76) proceeded from Callipoli, throiigh Iladrian- 
ople, to the Dantibe, m alxmt fifteen days. lie was in the train of an p]n<rlish 
ambassador, wlioso baggage consisted of seventy-one wagons. That learned 
traveller has the merit of tracing a curious and unfrequented route. 



OF THE KOMAX EMPIRE. 99 

the garrisons of that important frontier had been gradually 
annihilated ; the river, in the month of December, would be 
deeply frozen ; and the unbounded prospect of Scythia was 
opened to the ambition of Gainas. This design was secretly 
communicated to the national troops, who devoted them- 
selves to the fortunes of their leader ; and before the signal 
of departure was given, a great number of provincial auxili- 
aries, whom he suspected of an attachment to their native 
country, were perfidiously massacred. Tlie Goths advanced, 
by rapid marches, through the plains of Thrace ; and they 
w^ere soon delivered from the fear of a pursuit, by the vanity 
of Fravitta,* who, instead of extinguishing the war, hastened 
to enjoy the popular apj^lause, and to assume the peaceful 
honors of the consulship. But a formidable ally appeared 
in arms to vindicate the majesty of the emj^ire, and to guard 
the peace and liberty of Scythia.^^ The superior forces of 
Uldin, king of the Huns, opposed the progress of Gainas ; a 
hostile and ruined country prohibited his retreat ; he dis- 
dained to capitulate ; and after repeatedly attempting to 
cut his way through the ranks of the enemy, he was slain, 
with his desperate followers, in the field of battle. Eleven 
days after the naval victory of the Hellespont, the head of 
Gainas, the inestimable gift of the conqueror, was received 
at Constantinople with the most liberal expressions of grati- 
tude ; and the public deliverance was celebrated by festivals 
and illuminations. The triumphs of Arcadius became the 
subject of epic poems ; '^^ and the monarch, no longer 
oppressed by any hostile terrors, resigned himself to the 
mild and absolute dominion of his wife, the fair and artful 
Eudoxia, who has sullied her fame by the persecution of St. 
John Chrysostom. 

After the death of the indolent Kectarius, the successor 
of Gregory Nazianzen, the church of Constantinople was 
distracted by the ambition of rival candidates, who were not 

3^ The narrative of Zosimus, who actually leads Gainas beyond the Danuhe, 
rnust be corrected by the testimony of Socrates, and Sozoinen, that he was killed 
in Thrace: and by the precise and authentic dates of tlie Alexandrian, or 
Paschal, Chronicle, p. 307. The naval victory of the Hellespont is fixed to the 
month Apellseus. the tenth of the calends of January (Deceml er 23); the head 
of Gainas was brought to Constantinople the third of the nones of January 
(January 3), in the month Aiidyna;us. 

*^ Eusebius Scholapticus acquired mucli fame by his poem on the Gothic war, 
in which he had served. Near forty years afterwards, Amnionius recited another 
poem on the same subject, in the presence of the emperor Theodosius. See 
Socrates, I, vi. c. C, 



* Fravitta, according to Zosimus, thouph a Pagan, received the honors of the 
consulate. Zo^im, v. c. 20. On Fravitta, see a. very imperfect fragmeut of 
Eunapius, Mwi, ii. 2D0, iu Kiebuhr, 98.-31. 



100 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

ashamed to solicit, with gold or flattery, the suffrage of the 
people, or of the favorite. On tliis occasion, Eutropius 
seems to have deviated from his ordinary maxims ; and his 
uncorrupted judgment was determined only by the superior 
merit of a stranger. In a late journey into the East, he had 
admired tlie sermons of John, a native and presbyter of 
Antioch, whose name has been distinguished by the epithet 
of Chrysostom, or the Golden Mouth .'^^ A private order 
was despatched to the governor of Syria ; and as the people 
might be unwilling to resign tlieir favorite preacher, he was 
transported, with s])eed and secrecy, in a post-chariot, from 
Antioch to Constantino})le. Tlie unanimous and unsolicited 
consent of the court, the clergy, and the people, ratified the 
choice of the minister ; and, both as a saint and as an orator, 
the new archbishop surpassed the sanguine expectations of 
the public. Born of a noble and opulent family, in the capi- 
tal of Syria, Chrysostom had been educated, by the care of a 
tender mother, under the tuition of the most skilful masters. 
He studied the art of rhetoric in the school of Libanius; and 
that celebrated sophist, who soon discovered the talents of 
liis disciple, ingenuously confessed that John would have de- 
served to succeed him, had he not been stolen away by the 
Christians. His piety soon disposed him to receive the sac- 
rament of baptism ; to renounce the lucrative and honorable 
profession of the law; and to bury himself in the adjacent 
desert, wliere he subdued the lusts of the flesh by an austere 
penance of six years. His infirmities compelled him to re- 
turn to the society of mankind ; and the authority of Mele- 
tius devoted his talents to the service of the church : but in 
the midst of his family, and afterwards on the archicpiscopal 
throne, Chrysostom still persevered in the practice of the 
monastic virtues. The ample revenues, which his pi-edcccs- 
sors had consumed in pomp and luxury, he diligently aj)- 

*^ The slxtU book of Socrates, the eighth of S'^zomen, and the fifth of Theo- 
doret, alTord curious niul authentic materials for the life of John Chryso-toni. 
Besides those general historians, I have taken for my guides the four princ ipal 
biographers of the saint. I, The author of a partial and passionate A'indicatiou 
of the archbishop of Constantinople, coniposed in the form of a dialogue, ar.d 
under tlio name of Jiis zealous partisan, Palladius, hishoj) of llelenopolis (Tillo- 
mont, Mem, Eccles. torn, xi, pp. 5(W''):i?>). It is iiiscrt<Hl among the works of 
Chrysostom, torn. xiil. i)p. 1-00. edit. INIontfaucon, 2. The moderate Erasmus (torn. 
iii. cpist. McL. pp. l.'iol'l.MT, edit. Lugd. I3al). His vivacity and good sense were 
his own; his errors, in the uncultivated state of ecclesiastical antiquity, were 
almost inevitable, 3. The learned Tillcmont (Mem, Ecclt^siastiques, tom. xi, pp. 
1-405, 517-620. &c., &c.), who compiles tlie lives of the saints with Incredible pa- 
tience and religious accuracy, He has minutely searched the voluminous works 
of Chrysostom himself. 4. "Father Montfancon, who lias perused those works 
with the curious diligence of an editor, discovered several new homilies, and 
again reviewed and composed the Life of Chrysostom. (Opera Chrysostom. torn, 
xiii. pp. 91-177.) 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 101 

plied to the establishment of hospitals ; and the multitudes, 
who were supported by his charity, preferred the eloquent 
and edifying discourses of their arclibisht>p to the amuse- 
ments of the theatre or the circus. The monuments of that 
eloquence, Avhich was admired near twenty years at An- 
tioch and Constantinople, have been carefully preserved ; 
and the possession of near one thousand sermons, or homi- 
lies, has authorized the critics ^'^ of succeeding times to appre- 
ciate the genuine merit of Chrysostom. They unanimously 
attribute to the Christian orator the free command of an 
elegant and copious language ; the judgment to conceal the 
advantaixes which he derived from the knowledo-e of rhetoric 

• • • ^ 

and philosophy; an inexhaustible fund of metaphors and 
similitudes, of ideas and images, to vary and illustrate the 
most familiar topics ; the happy art of engaging the passions 
in the service of virtue ; and of exposing the folly, as well 
as the turpitude, of vice, almost with the truth and spirit of 
a dramatic representation. 

The pastoral labors of the archbisho]) of Constantinople 
provoked, and gradually united against him, two sorts of ene- 
mies; the aspiring clergy, who envied his success, and the 
obstinate sinners, who were offended by his re])roofs. When 
Chrysostom thundered, from the pulpit of St. Sophia, against 
the degeneracy of the Christians, his shafts were spent among 
the. crowd, without wounding, or even marking, the charac- 
ter of any individual. When he declaimed against the pecu- 
liar vices of the rich, poverty might obtain a transient con- 
solation from his invectives; but the guilty were still shel- 
tered by their numbers ; and the reproach itself was digni- 
fied by some ideas of superiority and enjoyment. But as the 
pyramid rose towards the summit, it insensibly diminished 
to a point ; and the magistrates, the ministers, the favorite 
eunuchs, the ladies of the court,^^ the empress Eudoxia her- 
self, had a much larger share 'of guilt to divide among a 
smaller proportion of criminals. The personal applications 

*' As I am almost a stranger to the voluminous sermons of Chrysostom, I have 
given my conlidence to the two most judicious and moderate of the ccclesiastieal 
critics, Erasmus (tom. iii. p. 1344) and Dupin (Dibliotlieque Ecclesiastique, torn. 
iii. p. 38) : yet the good taste of the former is sometimes vitiated by an excessive 
love of antiquity, and the good sense of the latter is always restrained hy pru- 
dential considerations. 

■»'' The females of Constantinople distinguished themselves by their enmity or 
their attachment to Chrysostom. Three noble and opulent widows, Marsa, Cas- 
tricia, and Eugraphia, were the leaders of the persecution (Pallad. I>ialog. torn, 
xiii. p. 14). It was imi^ossible that they should forgive a preacher who reproached 
their affectation to conceal, by the ornaments of dress, their age and ugliness 
(Pallad. p. 27). Olympias, by equal zeal, displayed in a more pious cause, has 
obtained the title of saint. See Tilleniont, Mem. Eccl6s. tom. xi. pp. 410-440 



102 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

of the audience were anticipated, or confirmed., by the testi- 
mony of their own conscience ; and tlie intrepid preacher as- 
sumed the dangeix)us right of exposing botli tlie offence and 
the offender to the public abhorrence. The secret resent- 
ment of the court encouraged tlie discontent of the clergy 
and monks of Constantinople, who Avere too hastily reformed 
by the fervent zeal of their archbishop. He had condemned, 
from the pulpit, the domestic females of the clergy of Con- 
stantinople, who, under the name of servants, or sisters, af- 
forded a perpetual occasion either of sin or of scandal. The 
silent and solitary ascetics, who had secluded themselves 
from the world, were entitled to the warmest approbation 
of Chrysostom ; but he despised and stigmatized, as the dis- 
grace of their holy profession, the croAvd of degenerate 
monks, who, from some unworthy motives of pleasure or 
profit, so frequently infested the streets of the capital. To 
the voice of persuasion, the archbishop was obliged to add 
the terrors of authority ; and his ardor, in the exercise of 
ecclesiastical jurisdiction, Avas not always exempt from pas- 
sion ; nor was it always guided by prudence. Chrysostom 
was naturally of a choleric disposition.^^ Although he 
struggled, according to the precepts of the gospel, to love 
his private enemies, he indulged himself in the privilege of 
hating the enemies of God and of the church ; and his senti- 
ments were sometimes delivered with too much energy of 
countenance and exj:)ression<, He still maintained, from 
some considerations of health or abstinence, his former 
habits of taking his repasts alone; and this inhospitable cus- 
tom,^^ which his enemies imputed to pride, contributed, at 
least, to nourish the infirmity of a morose and unsocial 
humor. Separated from that familiar intercourse, which 
facilitates the knowledge and the despatch of business, he 
reposed an unsuspecting confidence in his deacon Serapion ; 
and seldom applied his speculative knowledge of human 
nature to the particular characters, either of his dependents, 
or of his equals. Conscious of the purity of his intentions, 

** Sozomen, and more especially Socrates, have defined the real character of 
Chrysostom with a temperate and impartial freedom, very offensive lo his blind 
admirers. Those historians lived in the next generation, when party violence 
was abated, and had conversed with many persons intimately acquainted with the 
virtues and imperfections of the saint. 

■»5 Palladius (torn. xiii. p. 40, &('.) very seriously defends the archbishop. 1. 
He never tasted wine. 2. The weakness of his stomach required a peculiar diet, 
3. Business, or study, or devotion, often kept him fasting till sunset. 4. He de- 
tested the noioe and levity of great dinners. 5. He saved the expense for ^hc use 
of the poor. 6. He was apprehensive, in a ca^^ital like Constantinople, of tho 
envy and reproach of partial invitations. 



i 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 103 

and perhaps of the superiority of his genius, the archbishop 
of Constantinople extended the jurisdiction of the Imperial 
city, that he miglit enlarge the spliere of his pastoral labors ; 
and the conduct which the profane imputed to an ambitious 
motive, appeared to Chrysostom himself in the light of a 
sacred and indispensable duty. In his visitation through 
the Asiatic provinces, he deposed thirteen bishops of Lydia 
and Phrygia; and indiscreetly declared tliat a deep cor- 
ruption of simony and licentiousness had infected the whole 
c2-)iscopal order."*" If those bishops Avere innocent, such a 
rash and unjust condemnation must excite a well-grounded 
discontent. If they were guilty, the numerous associates of 
their guih Avould soon discover that their own safety de- 
pended on the ruin of the archbishop ; whom they studied 
to represent a^ the tyrant of the Eastern church. 

This ecclesiastical consj)iracy was managed by Theo- 
philus,^' archbishop of Alexandria, an active and ambitious 
prelate, who displayed the fruits of rapine in monuments of 
ostentation. His national dislike to the rising greatness 
of a city, which degraded him from the second to the third 
rank in the Christian world, was exasperated by some per- 
sonal disputes with Chrysostom himself.^^ By the private 
invitation of the empress, Theophilus landed at Constanti- 
no2)le with a stout body of Egyptian mariners, to encounter 
the populace ; and a train of dependent bishops, to secure 
by their voices, the majority of a synod. The synod ^^ was 
convened in the suburb of Chalcedon, surnamed the Oaky 
where Kufinus had erected a stately church and monastery; 
and their proceedings were continued during fourteen days 
or sessions. A bishop and a deacon accused the archbishop 
of Constantinople ; but the frivolous or improbable nature 
of the forty-seven articles which they presented against him, 
may justly be considered as a fair and unexceptionable 
panegyric. Four successive summons were signified to 

4<5 Chrysostom declares liis free opinion (toni, ix. liom. iii. in Act. Apostol. p. 
2i)) that the number of bishops, who mij^ht be saved, bore a very small propor- 
tion to thostt who would be damned. 

■5' See Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. torn. xi. pp. 441-500. 

48 1 have purposely omitted the controversy which arose among the monks of 
Egypt, concerning Origeniam and Anthropomorphism ; the dissimulation and 
violence of Theophilus ; his artful management of the simplicity of Epiphanius ; 
the persecution and flight of the long, or tall, brothers ; the ambiguous support 
■\vhich they received aj Constantinople from Chrysostom, &c. &c. 

*■> Photius (pp. 53-00) has preserved the original acts of the synod of the Oak ; 
which destroys the falf^e assertion, that Chrysostom vviis condemned by no more 
than thirtj^-six bishops, of whom twenty-nine were Egyptians. Forty-tive 
bishops subscribed his sentence. See Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. torn. xi. p. 5U5.* 



♦ Tillemont argues strongly for the number of thirty-six. — M, 



104 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

Chrysostom ; bnt he still refused to trust either his person 
or his reputation in the hands of his implacable enemies, 
Avho, prudently declining the examination of any particular 
charges, condemned his contumacious disobedience, and 
hastily pronounced a sentence of deposition. The synod of 
the Ocik immediately addressed the emperor to ratify and 
execute their judgment, and charitably insinuated, that the 
penalties of treason might be inflicted on the audacious 
preacher, who had reviled, under the name of Jezebel, the 
empress Eudoxia herself. The archbishop was rudely ar- 
rested, and conducted through the city, by one of the Im- 
perial messengers, who landed him, after a short navigation, 
near the entrance of the Euxine; from whence, before the 
expiration of two days, he was gloriously recalled. 

The first astonishment of his faithful people had been 
mute and passive : they suddenly rose with unanimous and 
irresistible fury. Theophilus escaped, but the promiscuous 
crowd of monks and Egyptian mariners was slaughtered 
without pity in the streets of Constantinople.^^ A season- 
able earthquake justified the interposition of Heaven ; the 
torrent of sedition rolled forwards to the gates of the palace ; 
and the empress, agitated by fear or remorse, threw herself 
at the feet of Arcadius, and confessed that the public safety 
could be purchased only by the restoration of Chrysostom. 
The Bosphorus was covered with innumerable ve':sels ; the 
shores of Europe and Asia were profusely illuminated ; and 
the acclamations of a victorious people accompanied, from 
the port to tlie cathedral, the triumph of the archbishop ; 
who, too easily, consented to resume the exercise of his 
functions, before his sentence had been legally reversed by 
the authority of an ecclesiastical synod. Ignorant, or care- 
less, of the impending danger, Chrysostom indulged his zeal, 
or perhaps his resentment ; declaimed with peculiar asperity 
againstyema/e vices; and condemned the profane honors 
which were addressed, almost in the precincts of St. So])hia, 
to the statue of the empress. His imprudence tempted his 
enemies to inflame the haughty spirit of Eudoxia, by re- 
porting, or perhaps inventing, the famous exordium of a 
sermon, " Herodias is again furious ; Ilerodias again dances ; 

'-'^ Palladiiis owns (p. 30) that if tlie people of Constantinople liad found The- 
ophilus, they would certainly have thrown him into the sea. Socrates mentions 
(1. vi. c. 17) a battle between the mob and the sailors of Alexandria, in which 
many wounds were given, and some lives were lost. The massacre of the monks 
is only observed by the Pagan Zosimus (1. v. p. 321), who acknowledges thnt 
Chrysostom had a singular talent to lead the illiterate multitude, ^v -yap 6 ai'fpajjros 

aAo'yof o\\qv iinayayiadaL 6eLi'0i, 



OF THE KOMAN EMPIRE. 105 

she once more requires the head of John;" an insolent al- 
lusion, which, as a woman and a sovereign, it was impossible 
for her to forgive. ^^ The short interval of a perfidious truce 
was employed to concert more effectual measures for the 
disgrace and ruin of the archbishop. A numerous council 
of the Eastern prelates, who were guided from a distance 
by the advice of Theophilus, confirmed the validity, with- 
out examining the justice, of the former sentence; and a 
detachment of Barbarian troops was introduced into the 
city, to suj)press the emotions of the people. On the vigil 
of Easter, the solemn administration of baptism was 
rudely interrupted by the soldiers, who alarmed the modesty 
of the naked catechumens, and violated, by their presence, 
the awful mysteries of the Christian worship. Arsacius 
occupied the church of St. Sopliia, and the archiepiscopal 
throne. The Catholics retreated to the baths of Constan- 
tine, and afterwards to the fields ; where they were still 
pursued and insulted by the guards, the bisho])s, and the 
magistrates. The fatal day of the second and final exile of 
Chrysostom was marked by the confiagration of the cathe- 
dral, of the senate-house, and of the adjacent buildings ; and 
this calamity was imputed, without proof, but not without 
2^robability, to the despair of a persecuted faction.^"^ 

Cicero might claim some merit, if his voluntary banish- 
ment preserved the peace of the republic ; ^^ but the sub- 
mission of Chrysostom v\'as the indispensable duty of a 
Christian and a subject. Instead of listening to liis humble 
prayer, that he might be permitted to reside at Cyzicus, or 
Nicomedia, the inllexible empress assigned for his exile the 
remote and desolate town of Cucusus, among the ridges of 
Mount Taurus, in the Lesser Armenia. A secret ho])e was 
entertained, that the archbishop might i)erish in a difiicult 
and dangerous march of seventy days, in the heat of sum- 
mer, through the provinces of Asia Minor, where he was 
continually threatened by the hostile attacks of the Isau- 
rians, and the more implacable fury of the monks. Yet 
Chrysostom arrived in safety at the place of his confine- 
ment ; and the three years which he spent at Cucusus, and 

^^ See Socrates, 1, vi. c. 18. Sozomen, 1, viii. c. 20. Zosimus (1. v. pp. 324, 327) 
irientioiis. in general terms, bis invectives ajrainst Eudoxia. Tlie lioniily. which 
begins with lb' se famous words, is n jected as ; parious. Montfaucon, torn. xiii. 
p. 151. Tilkimont, Mem. Eccles. torn. xi. p. G().'3. 

»2 We might naturally ex[)eet such n charge from Zosimus (1. v. p. 327) ; but it 
is remarliable enougli, that it should be coiitirmed by Socrates (1. vi. c. 18), and 
the Pasclial Chronicle (p. 3(i7). 

63 He displays tliose snecious motives (Post. Redituni, c. 13, 14) in the language 
of an orator aiid a politician. 



106 THE DECLIXE AND FALL 

the neighboring town of Arabissus, were the last and most 
glorious of his life. Ilis character was consecrated by ab- 
sence and persecution ; the faults of his adniijustration were 
no longer remembered ; but every tongue repeated the 
praises of his genius and virtue : and the respectful atten- 
tion of the Christian world was fixed on a desert spot among 
the mountains of Taurus. From that solitude the arch- 
bishoj^, whose active mind was invigorated by misfortunes, 
maintained a strict and frequent correspondence ^^ with the 
most distant provinces ; exhorted the separate congregation 
of Ids faithful adherents to persevere in their allegiance ; 
urged the destruction of the temj^les of Plicenicia, and the 
extirpation of heresy in the Isle of Cyprus ; extended his 
pastoral care to the missions of Persia and Scythia ; negoti- 
ated, by his ambassadors, Avith the Roman pontiff and the 
emperor Ilonorius ; and boldly appealed, from a partial 
syiiod, to the supreme tribunal of a free and general coun- 
cil. The mind of the illustrious exile was still independent ; 
but his captive body was exposed to the revenge of the op- 
pressors, who continued to abuse the name and authority of 
Arcadius.^^ An order was despatched for the instant re- 
moval of Chrysostom to the extreme desert of Pityus : and 
his guards so faithfully obeyed their cruel instructions, that, 
before he reached the sea-coast of the Euxine, he expired at 
Comana, in Pontus, in the sixtieth year of his age. The 
succeeding generation acknowledged his innocence and 
merit. The archbishops of the East, who might blush that 
their predecessors had been the enemies of Chrysostom, were 
gradually disposed, by the firmness of the Roman pontiff, 
to restore the honors of that venerable name.^'' At the pious 
solicitation of the clergy and j)eople of Constantinople, his 

n4 Two liuiulred and forty-two of the epistles of Chrysostom are still extant 
(Opera, toin. iii. pp. 528-736). Tliey are addressed to a great variety of persf)ns, 
and fallow a tirmne:-s of mind much snperior to that of Cicero in liis exile. 
The fourteenth epistle contains a curious narrative of the dangers of his 
journey. 

f-j After the exile of Chrysostom, Theophilus published an enormous and Jioni- 
hh'. volume against him, in which lie perpetually repeals the polite expressions of 
Jiostcm humanilatis, sacrilegoruni principem, immundum diemonem ; he allirms, 
that -lohn Chrysostom liad delivered liis f-o ;1 to bo adulterated l>y the devil ; an«l 
wishes that some further punishment, adequate if possible to the magnitude 
of his crimes, may be inflicted on him. St. Jerom, at the request t>f his frien<l 
Theophilus. translated this edifying performance from Greek into Latin. See 
Facundus Hevmian Do^mis. pro iii. Capitnl. 1. vi. c. 5, published by Sirmond. 
Opera, tom. ii. pp. 505, .506, 507 

^" His name was inserted by his successor Atticusin the Dypticsof the church 
of Constantinople, A. D. 41K. Ten years afterwanls he was revered as a saint. 
Cyril, who iidierited the place, and the passions, of his uncle Theophilus, yielded 
v.'ith much reluctance. See Facund. llermian. 1. 4, c. 1. Tilleniont, M6m. Ec- 
cl68. tom. xiv. pp. 277-283. 



OF THE PwOMAX EMPIRE. 107 

relics, thirty years after liis death, were transported from 
their obscure h;c'j)ulchre to tlie royal city.^^ The emperor 
Theodosius advimced to receive tliem as far as Chalcedou ; 
and, falling prostrate on tlie coffin, implored, in the name of 
his guilty parents, Arcadius and Eudoxia, the forgiveness 
of the injured saint.^^ 

Yet a reasonable doubt may be entertained, whether any 
stain of hereditary guilt could be derived from Arcadius to 
his successor. Eudoxia was a young and beautiful woman, 
who indulged her passions, and despised lier husband ; 
Count John enjoyed, at least, the familiar confidence of the 
empress ; and the public named him as the real father 
of Theodosius the younger.^^ Tlie birth of a son was ac- 
cepted, however, by the pious husband, as an event tlie most 
fortunate and honorable to himself, to his family, and to 
the Eastern Avorld : and the royal infant, by an vinprece- 
dented favor, was invested with the titles of Caesar and 
Augustus. In less than four years afterwards, Eudoxia, in 
the bloom of youth, was destroyed by tlie consequences of a 
miscarriage ; and this untimely death confounded the proph- 
ecy of a holy bishop,^^ who, amidst the universal joy, had 
ventured to foretell, that she should behold the long and au- 
spicious reign of her glorious son. The Catholics applauded 
the justice of Pleaven, which avenged the persecution of 
St. Chrysostom ; and perhaps the emperor was the only per- 
son who sincerely bewailed the loss of the haughty and ra])a- 
cious Eudoxia. Such a domestic misfortune afflicted him 
more deeply than the public calamities of the East ; ^^ tlie 
licentious excursions, from Pontus to Palestine, of the 
Isaurian robbers, whose impunity accused the weakness of the 
government ; and the earthquakes, the conflagrations, the 

t*^ Sociates, 1. vii. c. 45. Theodoret, 1. v. o. 36. This event recoTicile<l the 
Joaiinites. who had hitherto refused to ackiiowledj^e his suoce.' sors. During his 
lifetime, the JoanniLes were respected, by the Catholics, as the true and ortho- 
dox communion of Constantinople. Their obstinacy gradually drove them to the 
brink of scliism. 

'3 According to some accounts (Baronius, Annal. Eccles. A. D. i?)^, No. i), 10), 
the emperor was forced to send al.;tter of invitation and excuses, before the body 
of the ceremonious saint could be moved from Cumana. 

••'J Zosimus, 1. V. p. 315. The chastity of an empress should not be impeached 
without producing a witness ; bit it is astonishing, that 1he witness should write 
and live under a prince whose legilimary he dared to attack. AVe must suppose 
that his history was a party libel, privately read and circulated by the Pa-fans. 
'I'illemont 'Ilist. des Empereurs, torn. v. p. 782) is not averse to brand the reputa- 
tion of ICudoxia. 

'■" Porphyry of Gaza. His zeal was transported by the order which he had 
obtained for the destruction of eight Pagan temples of that city. See the 
curious details of his life (Baronius, A. r>."401, No. 17-51), originally written in 
Greek, or perhaps in Syriac, by a monk, one of liis favorite deacons. 
. 61 Philostorg. 1, xi. c. 8, and Godefroy, Dissertat. p. 457. 



108 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

famine, and the flights of locusts,^'- which the popular dis- 
content was equally disposed to attribute to the incaj^acity 
of the monarch. At length, in the thirty-first year of his 
age, after a reign (if Ave may abuse that word) of thirteen 
years, three months, and fifteen days, Arcadius expired in 
the palace of Constantinople. It is impossible to delineate 
his character; since, in a period very copiously furnished 
with historical materials, it has not been possible to remark 
one action that properly belongs to the son of the great 
Theodosius. 

The historian Procopius ^^ has indeed illuminated the 
mind of the dying emperor with a ray of human prudence, 
or celestial wisdom. Arcadius considered, with anxious fore- 
sight, the helpless condition of his son Theodosius, who was 
no more than seven years of age, the dangerous factions of 
a minority, and the as])iring spirit of Jezdegerd, the Persian 
monarch. Instead of tempting the allegiance of an ambi- 
tious subject, by the participation of supreme power, he 
boldly appealed to the magnanimity of a king; and placed, 
by a solemn testament, the sceptre of the East in the hands 
of Jezdegerd himself. The royal guardian accepted and 
discharged this honorable trust with unexampled fidelity; 
and the infancy of Theodosius was ])rotected by the arms 
and councils of Persia. Such is the singular narrative of 
Procopius ; and his veracity is not disj)uted by Agathias,^'* 
while he presumes to dissent from his judgment, and to arraign 
the wisdom of a Christian emperor, who, so raslily, though 
so fortunately, committed his son and his dominions to the 
unknown faith of a stranger, a rival, and a heathen. At the 
distance of one hundred "and fifty years, this political ques- 
tion might be debated in the court of Justinian ; but a pru- 
dent historian will refuse to examine the x>ropriety, till he 
has ascertained the truth, of the testament of Arcadius. As 
it stands without a parallel in the history of the world, we 
may justly require, that it should be attested by the positive 

(52 Jerom (torn. vi. pp. 73, 7G) describes, in lively colors, the regular and de- 
structive inarcli of the locusts, which spread a dark cloud between heaven and 
earth, over the land of Palestine. Seasonable winds scattered them, partly into 
the Dead Sea and partly i)Uo the IVIediterranean. 

" Procopitis, de Bell. Persic. 1. i. c. 2, i). S. edit. Louvre. 

G4Aga*}hias, 1. iv. pp. I.T., 137. Although he con.fcsscs the prevalence of the 
tradition, he asserts, that Procopius was llio lirst who had coniiniited it to wiit- 
ing. Tillemont (Hist, des Empereurs, torn. vi. ]>. o'T) argues very sensiMy on 
the merits of this fable. His criticism was not warped by any ecclesiastical 
authority ; both Procopius and Agathias are half Pagans.* 



* See St. Martin's article on Jezdegerd, in the Biographic Universelle de 
Alichaud.— M. 



OF THE r.OMAN EMPIRE. 109 

and unanimous evidence of contemporaries. The strange 
novelty of the event, which excites our distrust, must have 
attracted their notice ; and their universal silence annihilates 
the vain tradition of the succeeding age. 

The maxims of Koman jurisprudence, if they could fairly 
be transferred from private property to public dominion, 
would have adjudged to the emperor Honoriusthe guardian- 
ship of his nephew, till he had attained, at least, the four- 
teenth year of his age. But tlie weakness of Ilonorius, and 
tlie calamities of his reign, disqualified him from prosecuting 
this natural claim ; and such was the absolute separation of 
the two monarc:iies!, both in interest and affection, that 
Constantinople would have obeyed, with less reluctance, the 
orders of the Persian, than those of the Italian, court. 
Under a prince whose weakness is disguised by tlie external 
signs of manhood and discretion, the most worthless favorites 
may secretly dispute the empire of the palace ; and dictate 
to submissive provinces the commands of a master, whom 
they direct and despise. But the ministers of a child, A\'ho 
is incapable of arming them with the sanction of the royal 
name, must acquire and exercise an independent authorit}^ 
The great officers of the state and army, who had been 
appointed before the death of Arcadius, formed an aristoc- 
racy, which might have inspired them with the idea of a 
free republic ; and the government of the Eastern empire 
was fortunately assumed by the ju-aefect Anthemius,^^ who 
obtained, by his superior abilities, a lasting ascendant over 
the minds of his equals. The safety of the young emperor 
proved the merit and integrity of Anthemius ; and his pru- 
dent firmness sustained the force and reputation of an infant 
reign. Uldin, with a formidable host of Barbarians, was 
encamped in the heart of Thrace ; he proudly rejected all 
terms of accommodation ; and, pointing to the rising sun, 
declared to the Roman ambassadors, that the course of that 
j^lanet should alone terminate the conquests of the Huns. 
But the desertion of his confederates, who were privately 
convinced of the justice and liberality of the Imperial 
ministers, obliged IJldin to i-epass the Danube: the ti-ibe of 
the Scyrri, which composed his rear-guard, was almost 

<^_ Socrates, 1. vii. c. 1. Anthemius was the grandson of Philip, one of the 
ministers of Constaiitius, and the grandfather of the emperor Anthemius. After 
nis return from the Persian embassy, he was appointed consul and Praetorian 
praetectof the East, in the year 40.5 ; and held ihe prjefecturo about ten years. 
See his honors and praises in Godefroy, Cod. Theod. torn. vi. p. 350. Tillemont, 
Hxbt. des Emp. torn. vi. p. 1, Sic. 



110 THE DECLIXE AXD FALL 

extirpated ; and many thousand captives were dispersed to 
cullivate, with servile hibor, the fields of Asia.*^*^ In the 
midst of tlie public triumph, Constantinople was pr'otected 
by a strong enclosure of new and more extensive walls ; the 
same vigilant care was applied to restore the fortifications 
of the Illyrian cities ; and a plan was judiciously conceived, 
which, in the space of seven years, would have secured the 
command of the Danube, by establishing on that river a 
perpetual fleet of two hundred and fifty armed vessels.*'^ 

But the Romans had so long been accustomed to the au- 
thority of a monarch, that the first, even among the females, 
of the Imperial family, who displayed any courage or capa- 
city, was permitted to ascend the vacant throne of Theodo- 
sius. His sister Pulcheria,*^^ who was only two years older 
than himself, received, at the age of sixteen, the title of 
Augusta / and though her favor might be sometimes clouded 
by caprice or intrigue, she continued to govern the Eastern 
empire near forty years ; during the long minority of her 
brother, and after liis death, in her own name, and in the 
name of Marcian, her nominal husband. From a motive 
either of prudence or religion, she embraced a life of 
celibacy ; and notwithstanding some aspersions on the 
chastity of Pulcheria,^^ this resolution, which she communi- 
cated to her sisters Arcadia and Marina, Avas celebrated by 
the Christian world, as the sublime effort of heroic piety. 
In the presence of the clergy and people, the three daughters 
of Arcadius '^ dedicated their virginity to God ; and the 
obligation of their solemn vow was inscribed on a tablet of 
gold and gems ; which they publicly offered in the great 
church of Constantinople. Their palace was converted into 
a monastery ; and all males, except the guides of their con- 
science, the saints who had forgotten the distinction of 

cfi Sozomen. 1. ix. c. 5. He saw pome Scyrri at work near Mount Olympus 
in Bithyuia, and cherished ihe vain hope that those captives were the last of the 
nation. 

^'' (Jod. Theod. 1. vii. tit. xvii. 1. xv. tit. i. leg. 49. 

^3 Sozomen has tilled three chapters with a magnificent panegyric of Pul- 
cheria (1. ix. c. 1,2,3); and Tillemont (Memoires Kccles. torn. xv. pp. 171— 184) 
has dedicated a separate article to the honor of St. Pulcheria, virgin and em- 
press.* 

•^J Suidas (Excerpta. ]i. G8, in Script. Byzant.") pretends, on the credit of the 
Nesforians, that Pulcheria was exasperated against their founder, because he 
censured lier connection with the beautiful Paulinus, and her incest with her 
brother Theodosius. 

■^0 See Ducange. Famil. Byzantin. p. 70. Flaccilla, the eldest daughter, either 
died before Arcadius. ov, if 's^he lived till Ihe year 431 (Marcellin. C'hron.\ some 
defect of mind or body must have excluded her from the honors of her rank. 



* The heathen Eunanius gives a frightful picture of the Tenallty and injustice 
of the court of Pulcheria. Fragm. Euuap. in Mar, ii. 293, iuXiebuhr, ST.— M, 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. Ill 

sexes, Avcre scrupulously excluded from the holy threshold. 
Pulcheria, her two sisters, and a chosen train of favorite 
damsels, formed a religious community : they renounced the 
vanity of dress ; interrupted, by frequent fasts, their simple 
and frugal diet ; allotted a portion of their time to works of 
embroidery ; and devoted several hours of the day and night 
to the exercises of prayer and psalmody. The piety of a 
Christian vii'gin was adorned by the zeal and liberality of 
an empress. Ecclesiastical history describes the splendid 
churches, which were built at the expense of Pulcheria, in 
all the provinces of the East; her charitable foundations for 
the benefit of strangers and the jooor; the ample donations 
Avhich she assigned for the perpetual maintenance of mon- 
astic societies; and the active severity with Avhich she la- 
bored to sup]:)ress the opposite heresies of Nestorius and 
Eutyches. Such A^irtues were su])posed to deserve the 
peculiar favor of the Deity : and the relics of martyrs, as 
Avell as the knowledge of future events, were communicated 
in visions and revelations to the Imperial saint."^^ Yet the 
devotion of Pulcheria never diverted her indefatigable 
attention from temporal affairs ; and she alone, among all 
the descendants of the great Theodosius, appears to have 
inherited any share of his manly spirit and abilities. Tlie 
elegant and familiar use which she had acquired, both of 
the Greek and Latin languages, was readily applied to the 
vari'Mis occasions of speaking, or vrriting, on public business ; 
her deliberations were maturely weighed; her actions were 
prompt and decisive ; and, while she moved, Avithout noise 
or ostentation, the wheel of government, she discreetly at- 
tributed to the genius of the emperor the long tranquillity 
of his reign. In the last years of his peaceful life, Europe 
was indeed afflicted by the arms of Attila ; but the more 
extensive provinces of Asia still continued to enjoy a pro- 
found and permanent repose. Theodosius the younger was 
never reduced to the disgraceful necessity of encountering 
and punishing a rebellious subject : and since we cannot 
ap])laud the vigor, some praise may be due to the mildness 
and i^rosperity, of the administration of Pulcheria, 

71 She was admonished, by repeated dreams, of the place where the relics of 
the forty martyrs had been buried. Tlie ground had successively belonged to 
the liouse and garden of a woman of Constantinople, to a monastery of Mace* 
donlan monks, and to a * hurch of St. Thyrsus, erected by Causarius, who was con- 
sul A. D. 307; and the memory of the relics was almost obliterated. Notwith- 
standing the charitable wishes of Dr. Jortin (Remarks, torn. iv. p. 234), it is not 
easy to acquit Pulcheria of some share in the pious fraud; whifh must have 
been transacted when she was more than live-and-lhi.ty years of agQ, 



112 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

The Roman world was deeply interested in the education 
of its master. A regular course of study and exercise was 
judiciously instituted; of the military exercises of riding, 
and shooting with the bow ; of the liberal studies of gTam- 
mar, rhetoric, and philosophy : the most skilful masters of 
the East ambitiously solicited the attention of their royal 
pupil ; and several noble youths were introduced into the 
palace, to animate his diligence by the emulation of friend- 
ship. Pulcheria alone discharged the important task of 
instructing her brother in the arts of government ; but her 
precepts may countenance some suspicion of the extent of 
her capacity, or of the purity of her intentions. She taught 
him to maintain a grave and majestic deportment ; to walk, 
to ho d his robes, to seat himself on his throne, in a manner 
worthy of a great prince; to abstain from laughter; to 
listen with condescension ; to return suitable answers ; to 
assume, by turns, a serious or a placid countenance : in a 
word, to represent with grace and dignity the external 
figure of a Roman em23eror. But Theodosius "'^ was never 
excited to sujiport the weight and glory of an illustrious 
name : and, instead of aspiring to imitate his ancestors, he 
degenerated (if we may presume to measure the degrees of 
incapacity) below the weakness of his father and his uncle. 
Arcadius and Ilonorius had been assisted by the guardian 
care of a parent, whose lessons were enforced by his author- 
ity and example. But the unfortunate prince, who is born 
in the purple, must remain a stranger to the voice of truth, 
and the son of Arcadius was condemned to pass his perpetual 
infancy encompassed only by a servile train of women and 
eunuchs. The amj)le leisure, which he acquired by neglect- 
ing the essential duties of his high office, was filled by idle 
amusements and unprofitable studies. Hunting was the 
only active pursuit that could tempt him beyond the limits 
of the palace ; but he most assiduously labored, sometimes 
by the light of a midnight lam]), in the mechanic occupa- 
tions of painting and carving; and the elegance with which 
he transcribed religious books, entitled the Roman erai^eror 

72 There is a remarkable difference between the two ecclesiastical historians 
who in general bear so clos ^ a resemblance. Sozoinen (1. ix. c. 1) ascribes to Pul- 
cheria the government of the empire, and the education of her brother, whom 
lie scarcely condescends to praise. Socrates, though he affectedly disclaims all 
hopes of favor or fame, composes ai\ elaborate panegyric on the emperor, and 
cautiously suppresses the merits of his sister (1. vii- c. 22, 42). Philostorgius (1. 
xii. c. 7) expresses the influence of Pulcheria in gentle and courtly language, 

Ta<; /SacriAKCa? artfJ-enixrei'; vTrr)peTOViJ.eyq Kal fiteu^vVoucra, SuidaS (Excerpt. p. .53) 

gives a true character of Theodosius ; and T have followed the example of Tille- 
luont (torn. vi. p. 25) in borrowing some strolces from the modern Greeks. 



OF THE KOMAN EMPIRE. 113 

to the singular epitnet of CalUgrciphes^ or a fair writer. 
Separated from the world by an impenetrable veil, Theodo- 
sius trusted the persons whom he loved ; he loved those who 
were accustomed to amuse and flatter his indolence ; and as 
he never perused tlie papers that were presented for the 
royal signature, the acts of injustice the most repugnant to 
his character were frequently perpetrated in his name. The 
emperor himself was chaste, temperate, liberal, and merci- 
ful ; but these qualities, which can only deserve the name 
of virtues when they are supported by courage and regu- 
lated by discretion, were seldom beneficial, and they some- 
times proved mischievous, to mankind. His mind, ener- 
vated by a royal education, was oppressed and degraded by 
abject superstition : he fasted, he sung psalms, he blindly 
accepted the miracles and doctrines with which his faith 
was continually nourished. Thcodosius devoutly worshipped 
the dead and living saints of the Catholic church ; and he 
once refused to eat, till an insolent monk, who had cast an 
excomnmnication on his sovereign, condescended to heal 
the spiritual wound which he had inflicted.'^ 

The story of a fair and virtuous maiden, ex ilted from a 
private condition to the Imj^erial throne, \v, gli be deemed 
an incredible romance, if such a romance Had not been 
verified in the marriage of Theodosius. Tlie celebrated 
Athenais*'"* was educated by her father Leontius in the 
religion and sciences of the Greeks; and so advantageous 
was the opinion which the Athenian philosopher entertained 
of hiij contemporaries, that he divided his patrimony be- 
tween his two sons, bequeathing to his daughter a small 
legacy of one hundred pieces of gold, in the lively confi- 
dence that her beauty aiid merit would be a sufficient por- 
tion. The jealousy and avarice of her brothers soon com- 
l^elled Athenais to seek a refuge at Constantinople ; and, 
with some hopes, either of justice or favor, to throw her- 
self at the feet of Pulcheria, That sagacious princess lis- 
tened to her jeloquent complaint; and secretly destined the 

73 Theodorct, I. y. c. 37. The bishop of Cyrrlius, one of the first men of his 
age for liis learning and piety, ajiplauds the obedience of Theodosius to tho 
■divine laws^ 

'* Socrates (1. vii. e. 21) mentions her name (Athenais, tlie daughter of Leon- 
tius, an Athenian sophist), her bai)tisni, marriage, and poetical genius. The 
most ancient jaccount of her history is in John ^lalala (partii, pp. 20, 2L edit, 
Venet. 1743) and in the Pasclial Chronicle (pp. 311, 312). Those authors had 
probably seen original pictures of the empress Eudocia, The modern Greeks, 
Zonaras, Cedrenus, &c., have displayed the love, i-ather than the talent, of fic- 
tion. From Nicepiiorus, indeed, I have ventured to assume her age. The writer 
-of a romance would not liave imagined., tliat Athenais was iiear twenty-eight 
^■ears oUi wlien siie intlamed the heart of a jouai^ emperor. 

YoL, III,— 8 



114 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

daugliter of the philosoplier Leontius for the future wife of 
the emperor of the East, who liad now attained the 
twentieth year of his age. She easily excited the curiosity 
of her brother, by an interesting picture of the charms of 
Athenais ; large eyes, a well-pi'oportioned nose, a fair com- 
plexion, golden locks, a slender person, a graceful demeanor, 
an understanding improved by study, and a virtue tried by 
distress. Theodosius, concealed behind a curtain in the 
apartment of his sister, was permitted to behold the Athen- 
ian virgin : the modest youth immediately declared his pure 
and honorable love ; and the royal nuptials were celebrated 
amidst the acclamations of the capital and the provinces. 
Athenais, who was easily persuaded to renounce the errors 
of Paganism, received at her bapti&m the Christian name 
of Eudocia ; but the cautious Pulcheria withheld the title of 
Augusta, till the wife of Theodosius had approved her fruit- 
fulness by the birth of a daughter, who espoused, fifteen 
years afterwards, the emj^cror of the West. The brothers 
of Eudocia obeyed, with some anxiety, her Imperial sum- 
mons ; but as she could easily forgive their fortunate un- 
kindness, she indulged the tenderness, or perhaps tlie vanity, 
of a sister, by promoting them to the rank of consuls and 
prasfects. In the luxury of the palace, she still cultivated 
those ingenuous arts, which had contributed to her great- 
ness ; and Avisely dedicated her talents to the honor of reli- 
gion, and of her husband. Eudocia composed a poetical 
paraphrase of the first eight books of the Old Testament, 
and of the prophecies of Daniel and Zechariah ; a cento of 
the verses of Homer, applied to the life and miracles of 
Christ, the legend of St. Cyprian, and a panegyric on the 
Persian victories of Theodosius ; and her writings, which 
were applauded by a servile and sujoerstitious age, have not 
been disdained by the candor of impartial criticism.'^^ Tlie 
fondness of the emperor was not abated by time and pos- 
session ; and Eudocia, after the marriage of her daughter, 
was permitted to discharge her grateful vows by a solemn 
pilgrimage to Jerusjilem. Her ostentatious progress through 
the East may seem inconsistent with the spirit of Christian 
humility : she pronounced, from a throne of gold and gems, 
an eloquent oration to the senate of Antioch, declared her 

'^ Socrates, 1. vii. c. 21, Photius, pp. 413—420. The Homeric cento is still ex- 
tant, and lias been repeatedly printed ; but the claim of Eudocia to that insipid 
performance is disputed by the critics. See Fabricius, Biblioth. Grrec. torn. i. p. 
367. The Ionia, a miscellaneous dictionary of history and fable, a\ as compiled 
by another empres'^ of the )iame of Eudocia, who lived iu the elcYeiitli century : 
and t)\e work is still extant in manuscript. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 115 

royal intention of enlarging the walls of tlie city, bestowed 
a donative of two iiundred pounds of gold to restore the 
])nblic baths, and accepted the statues, which were decreed 
by the gratitude of Antioch. In the Holy Land, her alms 
and pious foundations exceeded the munificence of the 
great Helena ; and though the public treasure miglit be im- 
poverished by this excessive liberality, she enjoyed the con- 
scious satisfaction of returning to Constantino]:)le with the 
chains of St. Peter, tlie right arm of St. Stephen, and an 
undoubted picture of the Virgin, painted by St. Luke."^^ But 
tins pilgrimage was the fatal term of the glories of Eudocia. 
Satiated with empty pomp, and unmindful, perhaps, of her 
obligations to Pulcheria, she ambitiously aspired to the 
government of the Eastern empire ; the palace was dis- 
tracted by female discord ; but the victory was at last 
decided, by the superior ascendant of the sister of Theo- 
dosius. The execution of Paulinus, master of the ofiiccs, 
and the disgrace of Cyrus, Praetorian ]3ra3fect of the East, 
convinced the public that the favor of Eudocia was insuf- 
ficient to protect her most faithful friends; and the uncom- 
mon beauty of Paulinus encouraged the secret rumor, that 
liis guilt was that of a successful lover." As soon as the 
empress perceived that the affection of Theodosius was irre- 
trievably lost, she requested the permission of retiring to 
the distant solitude of Jerusalem. She obtained her re- 
quest ; but the jealousy of Theodosius, or the vindictive 
spirit of Pulcheria, pursued her in her last retreat ; and 
Saturninus, count of the domestics, was directed to punish 
with death two ecclesiastics, her most favored servants. 
Eudocia instantly revenged them by the assassination of 
the count ; the furious passions which she indulged on this 
suspicious occasion, seemed to justify the severity of Theo- 
dosius ; and the empress, ignominiously stripped of the 
honors of her rank,"^^ was disgraced, perhaps unjustly, in the 
eyes of the world. The remainder of the life of Eudocia, 
about sixteen years, was spent in exile and devotion ; and 
the approach of age, the death of Theodosius, the misfor- 

'" BaroTiius (Annal. Eccles. A. D. 438, 439) is copious and florid ; bur, lie is ac- 
cused of i)lacing the lies of different ages on the same level of authenticity. 

'•'' In this short view of the disgrace of Eudocia, I have imitated the caution 
of Evagrius (1. i. c. 21) and Count Marcellinus (in Chron. A, 1). 440 and 444). The 
two authentic dates assigned by the latter, overturn a great part of the Greek 
Jictions ; and the celebrated story of the apple, &c., is tit only for the Arabian 
Kights, where something not very unlike it may be found. 

'" Priscus (in Excerpt. Legat. p. G9), a contemporary, anil a courtier, dryly 
mentions her Pagan and Christian names, without adding any title of honor or 
respect. 



IIG THE DECLINE AND FALL 

tunes of her only dauglitcr, wlio was led a captive from 
Kome to Carthage, and the society of tlie Holy Monks of 
Palestine, insensibly confirmed the religions temper of her 
mind. After a full experience of the vicissitudes of human 
life, the daughter of the philosopher Leontius expired, at 
Jerusalem, in the sixty-seventh year of her age ; protesting, 
with her dying breath, that she had never transgressed the 
bounds of innocence and friendship." 

Tlie gentle mind of Theodosius was never inflamed by 
the ambition of conquest, or military renown ; and the 
slight alai-m of a Persian war scarcely interrui)ted the tran- 
quillity of the East. The motives of this war were just and 
honorable. In the last year of the reign of Jezdegerd, the 
supposed guardian of Theodosius, a bishop, who aspired to 
the crown of martyrdom, destroyed one of the fire-temples 
of Susa.^*^ His zeal and obstinacy were revenged on his 
brethren ; the Magi excited a cruel persecution ; and the in- 
tolerant zeal of Jezdegerd was imitated by his son Varanes, 
or Bahram, who soon afterwards ascended the throne. Some 
Christian fugitives, who escaped to the Roman frontier, 
were sternly demanded, and generously refused; and the 
refusal, aggravated by commercial disputes, soon kindled a 
war betAveen the rival monarchies. The mountains of Ar- 
menia, and the plains of Mesopotamia, Avere filled with 
hostile armies ; but the operations of two successive cam- 
paigns were not productive of any decisive or memorable 
events. Some emxasrements were fous^ht, some towns were 
besieged, with various and doubtful success : and if the 
Pomans failed in their attempt to recover the long-lost pos- 
session of Nisibis, the Persians were repulsed from the walls 
of a Mesopotamian city, by the valor of a martial bishop, 
who pointed his thundering engine in the name of St. 
Thomas the Apostle. Yet the splendid victories which the 
incredible speed of the messenger Palladius repeatedly an- 
nounced to the palace of Constantinople, were celebrated 
with festivals and panegyrics. From these panegyrics, the 

'^ For the two pilgrimages of Eudocia. and her long residence at Jerusalem, 
her devotion, alms. <S:c., see Socrates (1. vii. c. 47) and Evagrivis (I. i. c. 20. 21. 22), 
Ihe Paschal Chronicle may sometimes deserve regard ; and, in the domestic his- 
tory of Antioch, John JMalala" becomes a writer of good aulhoiity. The Abb6 
Gaenee, in a memoir on the fertility of P.alestine, of wliich I have only Been an 
extract, calculates the gifts of Eudocia at 20,488 pounds of gold, above 800,000 
pounds sterling. 

'^o Theodoret, 1. V. c, 39. Tillemont, Mem. Eccl^s, torn. xii. pp. o5G-r>64. Asse- 
manni, Bibliot. Oriental, tom. iii. p. 3%, torn. iv. p. (i1. Theodorot blames the 
rashness of Abdas, but extols the constancy of Ills martyrdom. Yet 1 do not 
olearly understand the casuistry which prohibits our repairing the damage 
which we have unlawfully committed. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 117 

historians ^^ of the age might borrow their extraordinary, 
and, perhaps, fabulous tales ; of tlie proud challenge of a 
Persian hero, who was entangled by the net, and despatclied 
by the sword, of Areobindus the Goth; of the ten thousand 
Immortals^ who were slain in the attack of the Roman 
camp; and of the liundred thousand Arabs, or Saracens, 
Avho were impelled by a panic terror to throw themselves 
headlong into the Euphrates. Such events may be disbe- 
lieved or disregarded ; but the charity of a bishop, Acacius 
of Amida, whose name might have dignified the saintly 
calendar, shall not be lost in oblivion. Boldly declaring, 
that vases of gold and silver are useless to a God who 
neither eats nor drinks, the generous prelate sold the plate 
of the church of Amida; emj^loyed the price in the re- 
demption of seven thousand Persian captives; supplied 
their wants with affectionate liberality ; and dismissed them 
to their native country, to inform their king of the true 
spirit of the religion which he persecuted. The practice of 
benevolence in the midst of war must always tend to as- 
suage the animosity of contending nations ; and I wish to 
persuade myself, that Acacius contributed to the restoration 
of peace. In the conference which was held on the limits 
of the two empires, the Roman ambassadors degraded the 
personal character of their sovereign, by a vain attempt to 
magnify the extent of his power : Avhen they seriously ad- 
vised the Persians to prevent, by a timely accommodation, 
the wrath of a monarch, who was vet i^'norant of this dis- 
tant war. A truce of one hundred years was solemnly 
ratified ; and although the revolutions of Armenia might 
threaten the public tranquillity, the essential conditions of 
this treaty were respected near fourscore years by the suc- 
cessors of Constantine and Artaxerxes. 

Since the Roman and Parthian standards first encoun- 
tered on the banks of the Euphrates, the kingdom of Ar- 
menia ^"^ was alternately oppressed by its formidable protec- 
tors ; and in the course of this History, several events, which 
inclined the balance of peace and war, have been already 

-'1 Socrates (1. vii. c 18, 19, 20, 21) is the best author for the Persian war. We 
may likewise coiasult the three Chronicles, the Paschal, and, those of Marcellinus 
and INIalala. 

8- This acroimt of the rnin and division of the kingdom of Armenia is taken 
from the third book of the Armenian history of INIo.ses of Chorene. l>elicient as 
he is in every qualification of a good historian, his local information, his pas- 
sions, and his prejudices, are strongly expressive of a native and contemporary. 
Procopius (de Edificiis, ]. iii. c. 1, 5) relates the same facts in a very dilferent man- 
ner : but I have extracted the circumstaiices the most probable in themselves, 
and the least inconsistent with Metres of Chorene. 



118 THE DECLIXE AXD FALL 

related. A disgraceful treaty liad resigned Armenia to the 
ambition of Sapor ; and the scale of Persia appeared to pre- 
ponderate. But the royal race of Arsaces impatiently sub- 
mitted to the house of Sassan ; the turbulent nobles asserted, 
or betrayed, their hereditary independence ; and the nation 
Avas still attaclied to the Christian princes of Constantinople. 
In the bec^innino; of the fifth century, Armenia Avas divided 
by the progress of war and faction ; ^^ and the unnatural 
division 2:)recipitated the downfall of that ancient monarchy. 
Chosroes, the Persian vassal, reigned over the Eastern and 
most extensive portion of the country ; while the Western 
province acknowledged the jurisdiction of Arsaces, and tlie 
supremacy of the emperor Arcadius."^ After the death of 
Arsaces, the Romans suppressed the regal government, and 
imposed on their allies the condition of subjects. The 
military command was delegated to the count of the Arme- 
nian frontier ; the city of Theodosiopolis ^* was built and 
fortified in a strong situation, on fertile and lofty ground, 
near the sources of the Euphrates ; and the dependent terri- 
tories Avere ruled by five satraps, Avhose dignity was marked 
by a peculiar habit of gold and purj^le. The less fortunate 
nobles, who lamented the loss of their king, and envied the 
honors of their equals, were provoked to negotiate their 
peace and pardon at the Persian court ; and returning, Avith 
their folloAvers, to the palace of Artaxata, acknoAvledged 
Chosroes f for their lawful soA'ereign. About thirty years 

83 The Western Armenians used the Greek language and character in their 
religious ofiices ; but the use of that hostile tongue was prohibited by the Per- 
sians in the P^astern provinces, which were obliged to use the Syriac, till the in- 
vention of the Armenian letters by IMesrobes, iji the beginning of the fifth 
century, and the subsequent version of the Bible into the Armenian language ; 
an event which relaxed the connection of the church and nation with Constan- 
tinople. 

^'^ INloses Chorene, 1. iii. c. 59, p. 309. and p. 358. Procopius, de Edificiis, 1. iii. 
c. 5. Tlieodosiopolis stands, or rather stood, about thirty-five miles to the east 
of Arzeroiun, the modern capital of Turkish Armenia. See D'Anville, Geog- 
raphie Ancienne. torn, ii. pp. 99, 100. 



* The division of Armenia, according to M. St. Martin, took place much 
earlier, A. C. 390. The Eastern or Persian division was four times as large as 
the AVestern or Roman. This partition took place during the reigns of Theodo- 
sius the First, and A'aranes (Bahram) the Fourth. St. Martin. Sup. to Le Beau, 
iv. 429. This partition was but imperfectly acccomplished, as both parts were 
afterwards reuidted umler Chosroes, who paid tribute both to the Koman em- 
peror and to the Persian king, v. 439.— I\I. 

t Chosroes, according to Procopius (who calls him Arsaces, the common name 
of the Armenian kings') and tlie Armenian writers, boqueathed to his two sons, 
to Tigranes the Persian, to Arsaces the Koman, division of Armenia, A. C. 416. 
AA''ith the assistance of the discontented nobles the Persian king placed his son 
Sapor on the throne of the Eastern division ; the AA'estern at the same time was 
united to the Koman empire, and called the Greater Armenia. It was then that 
Theodosiopolis was built. Sapor abandoned the throne of Armenia to assert his 
rights to that of Persia : he perished in the struggle, and after a i>criod of an- 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 119 

afterwards, Artaslres, the nephew and successor of Chosroes, 
fell under the disjileasure of the haughty and capricious 
nobles of Armenia ; and they unanimously desired a Persian 
governor in the room of an unworthy kingv The answer of 
the archbishop Isaac, whose sanction they earnestly solicited, 
is expressive of the character of a superstitious people. He 
deplored the manifest and inexcusable vices of Artasires; 
and declared, that he should not hesitate to accuse him 
before the tribunal of a Christian emperor, who would 
punish, without destroying, the siimer. " Our king," con- 
tinued Isaac, " is too much addicted to licentious pleasures, 
but he has been purified in the holy waters of baptism. Pie 
is a lover of women, but he does not adore the fire or the 
elements. He may deserve the reproach of lewdness, but 
he is an undoubted Catholic ; and his faith is pure, though 
his manners are flao^itious. I will never consent to abandon 
my sheep to the rage of devouring wolves; and you would 
soon repent your rash exchange of the infirmities of a. be- 
liever, for tlie specious virtues of a heathen." ^^ Exasperated 
by the firmness of Isaac, the factious nobles accused both 
the king and the archbishop as the secret adherents of the 
emi)eror ; and absurdly rejoiced in the sentence of condem- 
nation, which, after a partial hearing, was solemnly pro- 
nounced by Bahram himself. The descendants of Arsaces 
were degraded from the royal dignity,^^ which they had 
possessed above five hundred and sixty years ; ^"^ and the 

85 Moses Choren. 1. iii. c. 63, p. 316. According to the institution of St. Greg- 
ory, tl)e Apostle of Armenia, the archbishop was always of the royal family ; a 
circumstance which, in some degree, corrected the inlluence of the sacerdotal 
character, and united the mitre with the crown. 

80 A branch of the royal house of Arsaces still subsisted with the rank and 
possessions (as it should seem) of Armenian satraps. See JNIoses Choren. 1. iii. c. 
65, p. 321. 

^1 Valarsaces was appointed king of Armenia by his brother the Parthian 
monarch, immediately after the defeat of Antiochus Sidetes(,Moses Choren. 1. ii, 
c. 2, p. S5), one hundred and thirty years before Christ.* Without depending on 
the various and contradictory i)eriods of the reigns of the last kings, we may be 
a-^sured, that the ruin of the Armenian kingdom happened after the council of 
Chalcedon, A. D. 431 (1, iii. c. 61, p. 312) ; and under Varanes, or Bahram, king 
of Persia (1. iii. c. 64, p. 317), who reigned from A. D. 420 to 440. See Assemanni, 
Bibliot. Oriental, torn. iii. p. 396. t 



archy, Bahram V., who had ascended the throne of Persia, placed the last 
native prince, Ardaschir, son of Bahram Schahpour, on the throne of the Per- 
sian division of Armenia- St. Martin, v. .506- This Ardaschir was the Artasires 
of Gibbon. The archbishoj> Isaac is called by the Armenians the Patriarch 
Sahag. St. Martin, vi. 2!).— M. 

* Five hundred and eighty. St. Martin, ibid. He places this event A. C. 
429.— M. 

+ According to M. St. ]Martin, vi. 32, Vagharschah, or Valarsaces, was ap. 
pointed king by his brother Mithridates the Great, king of Parthia.— M. 



120 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

dominions of the unfortunate Artasires,* under the new and 
significant appellation of Persarmenia, were reduced into the 
form of a jjrovince. This usurpation excited the jealousy of 
the Roman government ; but the rising disputes were soon 
terminated by an amicable, though unequal, partition of the 
ancient kingdom of Armenia : f and a territorial acquisition, 
which Augustus might have despised, reflected some lustre 
on the declining empire of the younger Theodosius. 

* Artasires or ArdascMr was probably sent to the castle of Oblivion. St. Mar- 
tin, vi. 31.— M. 

t The duration oi the Anueniau kingdom, according to M. St. Martiu, was 580 
years. — M. 



OF THE ROATAN EMPIRE. 121 



CIIAPTEK XXXIIL 

DEATH OV IIONORIirS. — VALENTIXIA?^ III. EMPEROR OF THE 

WEST. ADMINISTRATION OF IIIS MOTHER PLACIDIA. 

AETIUS AND BONIFACE. CONQUEST OF AFRICA BY THE 

VANDALS. 

During a, long and disgraceful reign of t^ve^ty-eight 
years, Honorias, emperor of the West, was separated from 
the friendsliip of his brother, and afterwards of his nephew, 
who reigned over tlie East ; and Constantinople beheld, 
with apparent indifference and secret joy, the calamities of 
Rome. The strange adventures of Placidia ^ gradually re- 
newed and cemented the alliance of the two empires. The 
daughter of the great Theodosius had been the captive, and 
the queen, of the Goths ; she lost an affectionate husband ; 
she was dragged. in chains by his insulting assassin ; she 
tasted the pleasure of revenge, and was exchanged, in the 
treaty of peace, for six hundred thousand measures of wheat. 
After her return from Spain to Italy, Placidia experienced 
a, new persecution in the bosom of her family. She was averse 
to a marriage, which had been stipulated without her con- 
sent ; and the brave Constantius, as a noble reward for the 
tyrants whom he had vanquished, received from the hand of 
llonorius himself, the struggling and reluctant hand of the 
widow of Adolphus. But her resistance ended with the 
ceremony of the nu|)tials : nor did Placidia refuse to become 
the mother of Honoria and Valentinian the Third, or to as- 
sume and exercise an absolute dominion over the mind of 
her grateful husband. The generous soldier, whose time 
had hitherto been divided between social pleasure and mili- 
tary service, was taught new lessons of avarice and ambi- 
tion ; he extorted the title of Augustus ; and the servant of 
llonorius was associated to the empire of the West. The 
death of Constantius, in the seventh month of his reign, 
instead of diminishing, seemed to increase the power of 
Placidia ; and the indecent familiarity ^ of her brother, 

1 See p. fiO. 

2 Td ixvvvexri KaTa cTOfj-a ^i\ritxa.Ta, IS the expression of Olympiodorus, (apud 



122 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

which might be no more than the symptoms of a childish 
affection, were universally attributed to incestuous love. 
On a sudden, by some base intrigues of a steward and a 
nurse, this excessive fondness was converted into an irre- 
concilable quarrel : the debates of the emperor and his sister 
were not long confined within the walls of the palace ; and 
as the Gothic soldiers adhered to their queen, the city of 
Ravenna was agitated with bloody and dangerous tumults, 
which could only be appeased by the forced or voluntary 
retreat of Placidia and her children. The royal exiles 
landed at Constantino})le, soon after the marriage of Theo- 
dosius, during the festival of the Persian victories. They 
were treated with kindness and magnificence; but as the 
statues of the emperor Constantius had been rejected by 
the Eastern court, the title of Augusta could not decently 
be allowed to liis widow. Within a few months after the 
arrival of Placidia, a swift messenger announced the death 
of Honorius, the consequence of a dropsy ; but the impor- 
tant secret was not divulged, till the necessary orders had 
been despatched for the march of a large body of troops to 
the sea-coast of Dalmatia. The shops and the gates of Con- 
stantinople remained shut during seven days ; and the loss 
of a foreign prince, who could neither be esteemed nor 
regretted, was celebrated with loud and affected demon- 
strations of the public grief. 

While the ministers of Constantinople deliberated, the 
vacant throne of Honorius w^as usurped by the ambition of 
a stranger. The name of the rebel was John ; he filled the 
confidential office of Primicerius^ or principal secretary; 
and history has attributed to his character more virtues, 
than can easily be reconciled with the ■'dolation of the most 
sacred duty. Elated by the submission of Italy, and the 
hope of an alliance with the Huns, John presumed to insult, 
by an embassy, the majesty of the Eastern emperor ; but 
when he understood that his agents had been banished, im- 
prisoned, and at length chased away with deserved igno- 
miny, John prepared to assert, by arms, the injustice of his 
claims. In such a cause, the grandson of the great Theodo- 
sius should have marched in person ; but the young emperor 

Photium, p. 197) ; who means, perliaps, to describe tbe same caresses which INTa- 
homet bestowed on his Oaiujhter Pliatemah. Quando (says the prophet himself), 
quando subit milii desideriiim Pa:alisi, Ooculor earn, et ingero liiiguain meam iu 
OS ejus. But this sensual indulgence was justified by miracle and mystery ; and 
the anecdote has been communicated to the public by the Reverend Father Ma- 
racci, ixx his Version and Confutation of the Koran, torn. 1. p. 32. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 123 

was easily diverted, by his physicians, from so rash and 
hazardous a design ; and the conduct of the Italian expedi- 
tion was prudently intrusted to Ardaburius, and his son 
Aspar, who had already signalized their valor against the 
Persians. It was resolved that Ardaburius should embark 
with the infantry ; whilst Aspar, at the head of the cavalry, 
conducted Placidia and her son Valentinian along tlie sea- 
coast of the Adriatic. The march of the cavalry was ])er- 
formed with such active diligence, that they surprised, with- 
out resistance, the important city of Aquileia : when the 
hopes of Aspar were unexpectedly confounded by the in- 
telligence, that a storm liad dispersed the Imperial fleet ; 
and that his father, with only two galleys, was taken and 
carried a prisoner into the port of Ravenna. Yet this inci- 
dent, unfortunate as it might seem, facilitated the conquest 
of Italy. Ardaburius employed, or abused, tlie courteous 
freedom which he was permitted to enjoy, to revive among 
the troops a sense of loyalty and gratitude ; and as soon as 
the conspiracy was ripe for execution, he invited, by private 
messages, and pressed tlie approach of, Aspar. A shep- 
herd, whom the popular credulity transformed into an 
angel, guided the eastern cavalry by a secret, and, it was 
tliought, an impassable road, through the morasses of the 
Po : the gates of Ravenna, after a short struggle, were 
thrown open ; and the defenceless tyrant was delivered to 
the mercy, or rather to the cruelty, of the conquerors. His 
right hand was first cut off ; and, after he had been exposed, 
mounted on an ass, to the public derision, John was be- 
headed in the circus of Aquileia. The emperor Theodosius, 
when he received the news of the victory, interrupted the 
horse-races ; and singing, as he marched through the streets, 
a suitable psalm, conducted his people from the Hippodrome 
to the church, where he spent the remainder of the day in 
grateful devotion.^ 

In a monarchy, which, according to various precedents, 
might be considered as elective, or hereditary, or patri- 
monial, it was impossible that the intricate claims of female 
and collateral succession should be clearly defined ; ^ and 

3 For these revolutions of the Western empire, consult Olympiodor. apud 
Phot. pp. 192, 193, 196, 197, 200 ; Sozomen, 1. ix. c. 16 ; Socrates, 1. vii. 2.'!, 21 ; Phi- 
lostorgius, 1. xii. c. 10, 11, and Godefroy, Di^sertat. p. 486; Procopius, de Bell. 
Vandal. 1. i. c. 3, pp. 182, 183 : Theophanes, in Chronograph, pp. 72, 73, and the 
Chronicles. 

■* See Grotius de Jure Belli et Pacis, 1. ii. c. 7. He has laboriously, but vainly, 
attempted to form a reasonable system of jurisprudence, from the various and 
discordant modes of royal succession, which have been introduced by fraud or 
f6rce, by time or accident. 



124 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

Theodosius, by the right of consanguinity or conquest, might 
have reigned the sole legitimate emperor of the Komans. 
For a moment, perhaps, his eyes were dazzled by the pros- 
pect of unbounded sway ; but his indolent temper gradually 
acquiesced in the dictates of sound policy. He contented 
himself with the possession of the East ; and wisely relin- 
quished the laborious task of waging a distant and doubtful 
war against the Barbarians beyond the Alps ; or of securing 
the obedience of the Italians and Africans, whose minds 
were alienated by the irreconcilable difference of language 
and interest. Instead of listening to the voice of ambition, 
Theodosius resolved to imitate the moderation of his grand- 
father, and to seat his cousin Yalcntinian on the throne of 
the West. The royal infant was distinguished at Constanti- 
nople by the title of jS^'ohilissiimcs : he Avas promoted, be- 
fore his departure from Thessalonica, to the rank and dig- 
nity of Ccesar ; and after the conquest of Italy, the j^atrician 
Helion, by the authority of Theodosius, and in the presence 
of the senate, saluted Yalentinian th(^ Third by tlie name of 
Ausfustus, and solemnlv invested him with the diadem and 
Imperial purple.^ By the agreement of the three females 
who governed the Roman world, the son of Placidia was 
betrothed to Eudoxia, the daughter of Theodosius and 
Athenais; and as soon as the lover and liis bride had at- 
tained the age of puberty, this honorable alliance was faith- 
fully accomplished. At the same time, as a compensation, 
perhaps, for the expenses of the Avar, the Western Illyricum 
Avas detached from the Italian dominions, and yielded to 
the throne of Constantinople.^ The emperor of the East 
acquired the useful dominion of the rich and maritime proA'- 
ince of Dalmatia, and the dangerous soAcreignty of Panno- 
nia and Xoricum, Avhich had been filled and ravaged above 
tAventy years by a promiscuous croAA'd of Huns, Ostrogoths, 
Vandals, and l^avarians, Theodosius and Yalentinian con- 
tinued to respect the obligations of their public and domes- 
tic alliance; but the unity of the Ivoman government Avas 
finally dissolved. By a positive declaration, the Aalidity of 
all future laws AA\as limited to the dominions of their pecu- 
liar author ; unless he should think pro2)er to communicate 

5 Tlie originol writers are not agreed (see Miiratori, Annali d'ltalia. tom. iv. 
p. 139) whether A'alenlininn received Uie Imperial diadem ot Home or Ifaveinia. 
Ill this uncertainty, I am willing to believe, that some ret^pect was shown to the 
senate. 

•i The count de Buat (Hist, des PeuplcR de I'Europe, torn. vii. pp. 292-300) Las 
established the reality, explained the motives, and traced the consequences, of 
this remarkable cession. 



OF THE KOMAN EMPIRE. 125 

them, subscribed Avith his own hand, for the approbation of 
his independent colleague."^ 

Valentinian, when he received tlie title of Augustus, was 
no more than six years of age ; and his long minority was 
intrusted to the guardian care of a mother, who might as- 
sert a female claim to the succession of the Western empire. 
Placidia envied, but she could not equal, the reputation and 
virtues of the wife and sister 'of Theodosius, the elegant 
genius of Eudocia, the wise and successful policy of Pul- 
cheria. The mother of Valentinian was jealous of the 
power which she was incapable of exercising ; ^ she reigned 
twenty-five years, in the name of her son; and the character 
of that unworthy emperor gradually countenanced the sus- 
picion that Placidia had enervated his youth by a dissolute 
education, and studiously diverted his attention from every 
manly and honorable pursuit. Amidst tlie decay of military 
spirit, her armies were commanded by two generals, Aetius^ 
and Boniface,^^ who may be deservedly named as the last of 
the Romans. Their union might have supported a sinking 
empire; their discord was the fatal and immediate cause of 
the loss of Africa. The invasion and defeat of Attila have 
immortalized the fame of Aetius ; and though time has 
thrown a shade over the exploits of his rival, the defence of 
Marseilles, and the deliverance of Africa, attest the military 
talents of Count Boniface. In the iield of battle, in partial 
encounters, in single combats, he was still the terroi* of the 
Barbarians : the clergy, and particularly liis friend Angustin, 
were edified by the Cliristian piety wliich had once tempted 
him to retire from the world ; the people applauded his 
spotless integrity ; the army dreaded his equal and inex- 

7 See the first novel of Theodosius, by which he ratifies and commuuicatea 
(A. D. 438) the Theodosiau Code. About forty years before that time, the unity 
of legislation had been proved by an exception. The Jews, who were numerous 
in the cities of Apulia and Calabria, i)r(jduced a law of the Easi. to justify iheir 
exemption from municipal ollices (Cod. Theod. 1. xvi, lit. viii. leg. 13) ; and the 
Western emperor was obliged to invalidate, by a special edict, the law, quain 
constat meis partibus esse damnosam. Cod. Theod, 1. xi. tit. i. leg. 158. 

8 Cassiodorus (Variar, 1. xi. Kpist. i. p. 238) has eomi)ared the regencies of 
Placidia and Amalasuntha. Ife arraigns the weakness of the mother of Valcn- 
tuiian, and praises the virtues of his royal mistress. On this occasion, flatteiy 
seems to have spoken the language of truth. 

9 Fhilo.-torgius, 1. xii. c. 12, and Oodefrov's Dissertat. p. 493, &o., and P.enatus 
Frigeridus, apud Gregor. Turon. ]. ii, c. 8, in torn. ii. p. 163. The father of Aetius 
was Gaudentius, an illustrious citizen of the province of Scythia, and master- 
general of the cavalry ; his mother was a rich and noble Italian. From his ear- 
liest youth, Aetius, as a soldier and a hostage, had conversed with the Barba- 
rians. 

^^ For the character of Boniface, see Olympiodorus, apud Phot. p. 190; and 
St. Angustin, ai)ud Tilleniont, Memoires Ec'cles. torn. xiii. pp. 712-715, Sm. The 
bishop of Hippo at length deplored the fall of his friend, who, after a solemn 
vow of chastity, had married a second wife of the Arian sect, and who waii sus- 
pected of keeping several concubines in his house. 



J 26 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

orable justice, which may be displayed in a very singular 
example. A j^easant, who complained of the criminal inti- 
macy between his wife and a Gothic soldier, Avas directed 
to attend his tribunal the following day: in the evening the 
count, who had diligently informed himself of the time and 
place of the assignation, mounted his horse, rode ten miles 
into the country, surprised the guilty couple, punished the 
soldier with instant death, and silenced the complaints of 
the husband by presenting him, the next morning, Avith the 
head of the adulterer. The abilities of Aetius and Boniface 
might have been usefully employed against the public ene- 
mies, in separate and important commands; but the experi- 
ence of their past conduct should have decided the real 
favor and confidence of the empress Placidia. In the mel- 
ancholy season of her exile and distress, Boniface alone had 
maintained her cause with unshaken fidelity : and the troops 
and treasures of Africa had essentially contributed to ex- 
tinguish the rebellion. The same rebellion had been sup- 
ported by the zeal and activity of Aetius, who brought an 
army of sixty thousand Iluns from the Danube to the con- 
fines of Italy, for the service of the usurper. The untimely 
death of John compelled him to accept an advantageous 
treaty; but he still continued, the subject and the soldier of 
Valentinian, to entertain a secret, perhaps a treasonable, 
correspondence with his Barbarian allies, whose retreat had 
been purchased by liberal gifts, and more liberal promises. 
But Aetius possessed an advantage of singular moment in a 
female reign ; he was present : he besieged, with artful and 
assiduous flattery, the palace of Ravenna; disguised his 
dark designs with the mask of loyalty and friendsli'p; nnd 
at length deceived both liis mistress and his absent rival, by 
a subtle conspiracy, which a weak woman and a brave man 
could not easily suspect. He had secretly persuaded " Pla- 
cidia to recall Boniface from the government of Africa; lie 
secretly advised Boniface to disobey the Imperial summons : 
to the one, he represented the order as a sentence of death; 
to the other, he stated the refusal as a signal of revolt; and 
when the credulous and unsuspectful count had armed tlie 
province in his defence, Aetius applauded his sagacity in 
foreseeing the rebellion, which his own perfidy had excited. 

" Prooopius (tie Bell. Vandcal. 1, i. c. 3, 4, pp. 182-18R) relates the fraud of 
Aelius, the revolt of Boniface, and the loss of Atrica. This anecdoti', which la 
supported by some collateral testimony (see liuinart, Hist, Bersecut. Vandal, pp. 
420, -121), seems agreeable to the practice of ancient and modem courts, and would 
be naturally revealed by the repentance of Boniface. 



OF THE KOMAN EMPIRE. 127 

A temperate inquiry into the real motives of Boniface would 
luive restored a faithful servant to liis duty and to the re- 
public ; but the arts of Aetius still continued to betray and 
to inflame, and the count was urged, by persecution, to em- 
brace the most desperate counsels. The success Avith which 
]ie eluded or repelled the first attacks, could not inspire a 
vain confidence, that at the head of some loose, disorderly 
Africans, he should be able to withstand the regular forces 
of the West, commanded by a rival, whose military charac- 
ter it was impossible for him to despise. After some hesita- 
tion, the last struggles of prudence and loyalty, Boniface 
despatched a trusty friend to the court, or rather to the camp, 
of Gonderic, king of the Vandals, with the proposal of a 
strict alliance, and the offer of an advantageous and per- 
petual settlement. 

After the retreat of the Goths, the authority of Ilonorius 
had obtained a precarious establishment in Spain ; except 
only in the province of Gallicia, where the Suevi and the 
Vandals had fortified their camps, in mutual discord and 
hostile independence. The Vandals prevailed ; and their 
adversaries were besieged in the Nervasian hills, between 
Leon and Oviedo, till the npproach of Count Asterius com- 
pelled, or rather provoked, the victorious Barbarians to re- 
move the scene of the war to the plains of Boetica. The 
raj3id progress of the Vandals soon required a more effectual 
opposition ; and the master-general Castinus marched against 
thein with a numerous army of Romans and Goths. Van- 
quished in battle by an inferior enemy, Castinus fied with 
dishonor to Tarragona ; and this memorable defeat, which 
lias been represented as the punishment, was most probably 
the effect, of his rash presum])tion.^^ Seville and Cartha- 
gena became the reward, or rather the prey, of the ferocious 
conquerors; and the vessels which they found in the harbor 
of Carthagena might easily transport them to the Isles of 
Majorca and Minorca, where the Spanish fugitives, as in a 
secure recess, had vainly concealed their families and their 
fortunes. The experience of navigation, and j^ei-haps the 
prospect of Africa, encouraged the Vandals to accept the 
invitation which they received from Count Boniface ; and 
the death of Gonderic served only to forward and animate 
the bold enterprise. In the room of a prince not con spicu- 
le Seethe Chronicles of Prosper and Idatius. Salvian (de Gubernat, Dei, 1. 
vii. p. 246, Paris^ 1G08) ascribes the victory of the Vandals to their superior piety. 
They fasted, tliey prayed, they carried a Bible in front of the Host, with the 
design, perhaps, of reproaching the perfidy and sacrilege of their enemies. 



128 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

ous for any superior powers of the mind or bod}^ tliey ac- 
quired his bastard brother, the terrible Genseric ; ^^ a name, 
which, in the destruction of tlie Roman empire, has deserved 
an equal rank with the names of Alaric and Attila. The 
king of the Vandals is described to have been of a middle 
stature, with a lameness in one leg, Avhich he had contracted 
by an accidental fall from his horse. His slow and cautious 
speech seldom declared the deep purposes of his soul; he 
disdained to imitate the luxury of the vanquished; but he 
indulged the sterner passions of anger and revenge. The 
ambition of Genseric was without bounds and without 
scruples ; and the warrior could dexterously employ the 
dark engines of policy to solicit the allies who might be use- 
ful to his success, or to scatter among his enemies the seeds 
of hatred and contention. Almost in the moment of his de- 
parture he was informed that Iletmanric, king of the Suevi, 
had presumed to ravage the Spanish territories, which he 
was resolved to abandon. Impatient of the insult, Genseric 
pursued the hasty retreat of tlie Suevi as far as Merida ; 
precipitated the king and his army into the River Anas, 
and calmly returned to the sea-shore to embark his victori- 
ous ti'oops. Tlie vessels which transported the Vandals over 
the modern Straits of Gibraltar, a channel only twelve miles 
in breadth, were furnished by the Spaniards, who anxiously 
wished their departure ; and by the African general, Avho 
had implored their formidable assistance.^'* 

Our fancy, so long accustomed to exaggerate and multi- 
ply the martial swarms of Barbarians that seemed to issue 
from the Korth, will perhaps be surprised by the account of 
the army which Gensei-ic mustered on the coast of Mauri- 
tania. The Vandals, who in twenty years had penetrated 
from the Elbe to Mount Atlas, were united under the com- 
mand of tlieir warlike king; and he reigned with equal 
authority over the Alani, who had passed, within the term 
of human life, from the cold of Scythia to the excessive heat 
of an African climate. The hopes of the bold enterprise 

^3 Gizericus (his name is variously exprepged) statura mediocris et equi casQ. 
claudicans, auimo profundus, serutone rarus, luxurhe conteniDtor, IrA turbidus, 
habendi cupidus, ad solicitandas gentes providentjssimus, semiiia contenlionuni 
jacere, odia tuiscere paratus. JoruaiidtB, de Kebus Geticis, c. 33, i>. 657. This por- 
trait, which is drawn with some skill, and a strong likeness, must have been cop- 
ied from the Gothic history of Cassiodorus. 

1- See the Chronicle of "idatiug. That bishop, a Spaniard and a contemporary, 
places the passage of the Vandals in the month of May, of the yeav of Abraham 
(whicli commences in October), 244-1. This date, which coincides with A, J). 429, 
is confirmed by Isidore, another Spanish bishop, and is justly preferred to the 
opinion of those writers who have marked for that event one of the two i)reced- 
iug years, bee Pagi Critica, torn, ii, p. 205, &c. 



OF THE ROMAX EMPIRE, 129 

had excited many braA^e adventurers of the Gothic nation; 
and many de.s])erate provincials were tempted to re])air 
their fortunes by tlie same means wliicli had occasioned 
their ruin. Yet tliis various multitude amount(id only to 
fifty tliousand effective men : and though Gensei-ic artfully 
magnified his apparent strength, by appointing eighty diili- 
archs^ or coniman<lers of thousands, the fallacious increase 
of old men, of children, and of slaves, would scarcely have 
swelled his army to the number of fourscore thousand per- 
sons.^^ But his own dexterity, and the discontents of Africa, 
soon fortified the Vandal powers, by the accession of numer- 
ous and active allies. The parts of Mauritania which bor- 
der on the Great Desert and the Atlantic Ocean, were filled 
with a fierce and untractable race of men, whose savage 
temper had been exasperated, rather than reclaimed, by 
their dread of the Roman arms. The wandering Moors,^^ 
as they gradually ventured to approacli the sen-shore, and 
the camp of the Vandals, must have viewed with terror and 
astonishment the dress, the armor, the martial ])ride and dis- 
cipline of the unknown strangers who had landed on their 
const; and the fair complexions of the blue-eyed warriors 
of Germany formed a very singular contrast with the 
swarthy or olive hue which is derived from the neighbor- 
hood of the torrid zone. After the first difficulties had in 
some measure been removed, which arose from the mutual 
ignorance of their respective language, the Moors, regardless 
of any future consequence, embi-aced the alliance of the ene- 
mies of Rome ; and a crowd of naked savages rushed from 
the woods and valleys of Mount Atlas, to satiate their i-e- 
venge on the polished tyrants, w'ho liad injuriously expelled 
them from the native sovereignty of the land. 

The persecution of the Donatists " was an event not less 
favorable to the designs of Genseric. Seventeen years be- 
fore he landed in Africa, a public conference was held at 

15 Compare Prooopiua (de Bell. Vandal. 1. i. o. 5, p. 100) and Victor Yitensis 
(de Perseciitioiie Vandal. 1. i. c. 1, p. .3, edit, lluinart). W^e are assured by Ida- 
lias, that Genseric evacuated Spain, cum Vandalis omnibus eorunique familiiS; 
and Possidius (in Vit. Augustin. c. 28, apud Kuinart, p. 427) describes his army as 
nianus ingens immaidum gentium \^andaloruni et Alanorurn, commixtam secum 
habens Gothorum gentem aliarunique diversarum personas. 

1'' lor the manners of the Moors, see Procopius (de Bell. Vandal. 1. ii. c. G, p. 
2i!)) ; for their figure and com})lexion, M. de Buffon (llist-oii-e Katurelle, torn. iii. 
p. 4.30). Procopius says in general, that the Moors had joined the Vandals before 
the death of Valentinian (de Bell. Vandal. 1. i. c. 5, p. 1!K)) : and it is i)robable 
that the independent tribes did not embrace any nniform system of j)o]icy. 

^'' See Tillemont, Memoires Eccles. tom. xiii. pp. r)l('>-,'>.')8 ; an<l the whole series 
of the i)er8ecution, in the original monuments, i)ublished by Dupin at the end 
of Uptatus, pp. 323-515. ■ ■ ■ 

Vol. III.— 9 



130 THE DECLINi: AND FALL 

Carthage, by the order of the magistrate. The Catholics 
were satisfied, tliat, after tlie invincible reasons which tliey 
had alleged, the obstinacy of tlie schismatics must be inex- 
cusable and voluntary ; and the emperor Honorius was per- 
suaded to inflict the most rigorous penalties on a faction 
which had so long abused his patience and clemency. Tliree 
hundred bishops,^^ with many thousands of tlie inferior 
clergy, were torn from their churches, stripped of their eccle- 
siastical possessions, banished to the islands, and proscribed 
by the laws, if they presumed to conceal themselves in the 
provinces of Africa. Their numerous congregations, both 
in cities and in the country, were deprived of the rights of 
citizens, and of the exercise of religious worship. A regular 
scale of fines, from ten to two hundred pounds of silver, was 
curiously ascertained, according to the distinctions of rank 
and fortune, to punish the crime of assisting at a schismatic 
conventicle ; and if the fine had been levied five times, Avith- 
out subduing the obstinacy of the offender, liis future pun- 
ishment was referred to the discretion of the Imperial court.-^^ 
By these severities, which obtained the warmest approba- 
tion of St. Augustin,^*^ great numbers of Donatists were rec- 
onciled to the Catholic Church : but the fanatics, Avho still 
persevered in their opi^osition, were provoked to madness 
and despair; the distracted country was filled with tumult 
and bloodshed ; the armed troops of Circumcellions alter- 
nately pointed their rage against themselves, or against their 
adversaries; and the calendar of martyrs received on both 
sides a considerable augmentation.-^ Under these circum- 
stances, Genseric, a Christian, but an enemy of the orthodox 
communion, showed himself to the Donatists as a powerful 
deliverer, from Avhom they might reasonably exj^ect the re- 
's The Donatist 1 ishops, at the conference of Carthage, amounted to 27f>; and 
they assert, d that their whole nunibor was not less than 400. The Catholics had 
286 present, 120 absent, besides sixty-foiir v;icant bishoprics. 

!'■• The lifth title of the sixteenth book of the Theodosian Code exl.ibts a 
series of the Imperial laws against tlie Dona.ists. from the year 400 to tlu year 
428. Of these the 54th law, promulgated by Honorius, A. D. 414, is the most 
severe and effectual. 

20 St. Augustin altered his opinion with regnrd to the proper treatment of 
heretics. His pathetic declaration of pity and indulgence for the Manicha;ans, 
lias been inserted by Mr. Locke (vol. iii. p. 4t>l») among the clioice specimens of 
liis common-place book. Another pliilosopher, tha celebrated Bayle (torn. ii. pp. 
445-490), has refuted, with superfluous diligence and ingenuity, Ihe arguments by 
which the bishop of Hippo justilied, in his old age, the persecution of the Do- 
natists. 

21 See Tillemont, Mc^m. Eccles. tom. xiii. pp. 586-502, ?n6. The Donatists 
boasted of tbou>'an(I.<i of these voluntary martyrs. Augusiin asserts, ai.d j)r(iba- 
bly with truth, that these numbers were much exaggeiated ; but he sternly main- 
tains, that it was better that some should burn themselves in this world, than 
that all should burn iu hell flames. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 131 

peal of the odlons and oppressive edicts of tTie Roman em- 
perors. '^^ The conquest of Africa was fjiciiitated by tlie 
active zeal, or the secret favor, of a domestic faction ; the 
wanton outra^-es acjainst tlie churches and the clei'Gcy of 
wliich the Vandals are accused, may be fairly imputed to 
the fanaticism of their allies; and the intolcr.mt s] irit which 
disgraced the triumph of Christianity, contributed to the 
loss of the most important province of the West.^^ 

The court and the people were astonished by the strange 
intelligence, that a virtuous hero, after so many favors, and 
so niany services, had renounced his allegiance, and invited 
the Barbarians U) destroy the province intrusted to his com- 
mand. The friends of Boniface, who still believed that his 
criminal behavior might be excused by some lionorable mo- 
tive, solicited, during the absence of Aetius, a free confer- 
ence with the Count of Africa ; and Darius, an oflicer of 
hiirh distinction, was named for the important embassy.^* 
In their first interview at Carthage, the imaginary provoca- 
tions were mutually explained ; tlie op])osite letters of 
Aetius were produced and compared; and the fraud was 
easily detected. Placidiaand Boniface lamented their fatal 
error; and the count liad sufficient magnanimity to confide 
in the forgiveness of his sovereign, or to expose liis head to 
her future resentment. His repentance was fervent and 
sincere ; but he soon discovered that it was no longer in 
his ])Ower to restore the edifice which lie liad shaken to its 
foundations. Carthage and the Koman garrisons returned 
with their general to the allegiance of Valentinian ; but the 
rest of Africa was still distracted with war and faction ; 
and the inexorable king of the Vandals, disdaining all terms 
of accommodation, sternly refused to relinquish tlie posses- 
sion of his prey. The band of veterans who marched under 
the standard of Boniface, and his hasty levies of provincial 

*2 According to St. Augnstiii and Theodoret, the Donatisfs were incUned to 
the principle.--, or Jit Ica-t to the i^arty, of the Arians, which Genseric supported. 
Tilleniont, Mem. Eccles. torn. vi. p. GH. 

23 See Baronins, Annal. Eccles. A. D. 428, No. 7, A. D. 430, No. 35. The cardi- 
nal, though more inclined to seek the cause of great events in heaven than oa 
the earth, has observed tlie apparent connection of the Vandals and the Donat- 
ists. Under the reign of the Barbarians, the schi matics of Africa enjoj'ed au 
obscure pciace of one hundred years; at, the end of which, we may again trace 
them by the light of the Imperial persecutions. See Tilleniont, Mem. Eccles. 
tom. vi. p. 192, <<;c. 

'* In a conlidontial letter to Count Boniface, St. Augustin, without examin- 
ing the grounds of the quarrel, piously exhorts him to dischax'ge the duties of a 
Chrisiian and a subject ; to extri< ate himself without delay from his dangerous 
and guilty situation : aiui even, if he could obtain the consent of his wife, to em- 
brace a life of celibacy and penance (Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. xiii. p. 890). 
The bishop was intimately connected with JDarius, the minister of peace (Id. 
tom. xiii. p. 92b), 



132 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

troops, were defeated Avith considerable loss ; the victorious 
Barbarians insulted the open country; and Carthage, Cirta, 
and Hippo Regius, were the only cities that appeared to 
rise above the general inundation. 

The lono; and nai-row tract of the African coast was filled 
with frequent monuments of Roman art and mngnificence ; 
and the respective degrees of imju'ovement might be accu- 
rately measured by the distance from Carthage and tlie 
Mediterranean. A simple reflection will im.press every 
tliinking mind with the clearest idea of fertility and cultiva- 
tion ; the country was extremely populous ; the inhabitants 
reserved a liberal subsistence for tlieir own use ; and the an- 
nual exportation, particularly of wheat, was so regular and 
])lentiful, that Africa deserved the name of the common 
granary of Rome and of mankind. On a sudden the seven 
fruitful provinces, from Tangier to Tripoli, Avere over- 
whelmed by the invasion of the Vandals ; whose destructive 
rage lias perhaps been exaggerated by popular animosity, 
religious zeal, and extravagant declamation. War, in its 
fairest form, implies a perpetual violation of humanity and 
justice; and the hostilities of Barbarians are inflamed by 
the fierce and lawless spirit which incessantly disturbs their 
peaceful and domestic society. The Vandals, where they 
found resistance, seldom gave quarter ; and the deaths of 
their valiant countrymen were expiated by the ruin of the 
cities under Avhose walls they had fallen. Careless of the 
distinctions of age, or sex, or rank, they employed every 
species of indignity and torture, to force from the captives 
a discovery of their hidden wealth. The stern policy of 
Genseric justified his frequent exam])les of military execu- 
tion ; he was not always the master of his own passions, or 
of those of his followers ; and the calamities of war were 
aggravated by the licentiousness of the Moors, and the fanat- 
icism of the Donatists. Yet I shall not easily be persuaded, 
that it was the common ])ractice of the Vandals to cxtir]:)ate 
the olives, and other fruit trees, of a country where they in- 
tended to settle ; nor can I believe that it was a usual strat- 
agem to slaughter great numbers of their prisoners before 
the walls of a besieged city, for the sole pur])ose of infecting 
the air, and producing a i)esti]ence, of which they them- 
selves must have been the first victims.^^ 

25 The original complaints of the desolaiion of Africa are contained, 1. In a 
letter trom Caprcolus, bishop of Carthai^e, to excuse his absence from the coun- 
cil of Ephesus (ap lluinart, p. 427). 2. In the life of St. Auj;;nstin bv his friend 
and colleague Tossidius (ap. lluinart, p. 427). 3. In the History of the Vaiulalic 



OF THE ROMAX EMPIRE. 133 

The generous mind of Count Boniface was tortured by 
tlio exquisite distress of beliolding the ruin wliich he had 
occasioned, and whose ra])id progress he was unable to 
check. After tlie h)ss of a battle, lie retired into IIii)po Re- 
gius, where lie was immediately besieged by an enemy, 
who considered liim as the real bulwark of Africa. The 
maritime colony of Ilippo^'^ about two hundred miles west- 
ward of Carthage, had formerly acquired tlie distinguished 
epithet of Hegius^ from the residence of Numidian kings ; 
and some remains of trade and populousness still adhere to 
the modern city, which is known in Europe by tlie corrupted 
name of Bona. The military labors, and anxious reflec- 
tions, of Count Boniface, were alleviated by the edifying 
conversation of his friend St. Augustin ; ^^ till tliat bishop, 
the light and pillar of the Catholic church, was gently re- 
leaser!, in the third month of the siege, and in the seventy- 
sixth year of his age, from the actual and the impending 
calamities of his country. The youth of Augustin had been 
stained by the vices and errors which he so ingenuously con- 
fesses ; but from the moment of his conversion to that of 
liis death, the manners of the bishop of Hippo were pure 
and austere; and the most cons])icuous of his virtues was 
an ardent zeal against heretics of every denomination ; the 
Manichaians, the Donatists, and the Pelagians, against whom 
lie waged a perpetual controversy. AVhen the city, some 
months after his death, was burnt by the Yandals, the 
library was fortunately saved, which contained his A'olumi- 
nous writings ; two hundred and thirty-two separate books 
or treatises on theological subjects, besides a complete ex- 
position of the psalter and the gospel, and a copious mng- 
azine of epistles and homilies.^^ According to the judgment 

Persecution, by Victor Vitensis (1. i. c. 1, 2. 3. edit. Ruinart). The last picture, 
"which w:is drawn sixty years after the event, is more expressive of the autlior's 
passions than of the truth of facts. 

2^ See ("cUarius, Geograpli. Antiq. torn. ii. part ii. p. 112. Leo African, in llamu- 
Bio, torn. i. fo]. 70. L'Afrique de Marniol, torn. ii. pp. 431, 4.')7. Shaw's Travels, 
pp. AC), 47. The old IIipi)o Regius was linally destroyed by the Arabs in the sev- 
enth century ; but a new town, at the distance of two miles, was built with the 
materials ; and it contained, in the sixteenth century, aliout three hundred fam- 
ilies of iuilustrioiis, but turbulent, manufacturers. The adjacent territory \a 
renowned for a pure air, a fertile soil, and plenty of exquisite fruits. 

27 The life of St. Augustin, l)y Tillemont, tills a quarto volume (Mem. Eccles. 
torn, xiii.) of more than one thousand ija-^es ; an<l tlio diligence of tliMt leained 
Jansenist was excited, on thin occasion, by factious and devout zeal for the 
founder of his sect. 

23 Stich, at least, is tlie account of Victor A'iten sis (de Persecut. Vandal. 1. i. c. 
?) ; though Gennadius seems to doubt vvhe'her any person liad read, or (!ve]i col- 
lected, nil the works of St. Augustin (sea Ilieronvm. Onera, tom. i. )). ?,V\ in Cat- 
alog. Scriptor. Eccles). They have been repeatedly printed -. andDupiu (Bibli- 
otheque Eccles. toni. iii. pp. ir.S-257) has given a lar.ie and satisfactorv abstract 
of them atj they stand in the last edition of the Ueuedictines. INIy personal ac- 



134 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

of the most impartial critics, the superficial learning of Au- 
giistin Avas confined to the Latin language ; -^ and his styie, 
thougli sometimes animated by the eloquence of passion, is 
usually clouded by false and affected rhetoric. But he pos- 
sessed a strong, capacious, argumentative mind ; lie boldly 
sounded the dark abyss of grace, predestination, free will, 
and original sin ; and the rigid system of Christianity which 
he framed or restored,^^ has been entertained, with public 
applause, and secret reluctance, by the Latin church,^^ 

By the skill of Boniface, and perhaps by tlie ignorance 
of the Vandals, the siege of Hippo was protracted above 
fourteen months; the sea Avas continually open ; and when 
the adjacent country had been exhausted by irregular rapine, 
the besiegers themselves were compelled by famine to re- 
linquish their enterprise. The importance and danirer of 
Africa were deeply felt by the regent of the West. Placi- 
dia implored the assistance of her eastern ally : and the 
Italian fleet and army were reenforced by Aspar, who 
sailed from Constantinople with a powerful armament. As 
soon as the force of the two empires was united under the 
command of Boniface, he boldly marched against the Van- 
dals ; and the loss of a second battle irretrievably decided 
the fate of Africa. lie embarked Avith the preci))itation of 
despair ; and the people of IIi])po Avere permitted, Avith 
their families and effects, to occupy the vacant place of the 
soldiers, the greatest part of Avhom AA^ere either slain or 
made .prisoners by the Vandals. The count, Avhose fatal 
credulity had wounded the A'itals of the republic, might en- 
ter the palace of Ravenna with some anxiety, Avhich Avas 
soon removed by the smiles of Placidia. Boniface accepted 
Avith gratitude the rank of patrician, and the dignity of 

quaiiitaiice with the bishop of Hippo does not extend beyond the Confessiojis 
and the ( 'Hy of God. 

29 In his early youth (Confes. i. 14) St. Augustin disliked and neq;]ected the 
study of Greek ; and lie frankly owns that he read the Plntonists in a Latin ver- 
sion (Confes. vii. !•). Some modern critics have thought, that liis ignorance of 
Greek disiualilied liim from expounding the Scriptures; and (Jiceroor Onintilian 
■\vouhl have required the knowledge of that language in a profe sor of rhetoric. 

so These questioiis were seldona agitated, from the time of St. Paul to that of 
St. Augustin. I am informed that the (}re,ek fa; hers maintain the natural senti- 
ments of the Semi-Pelagians; and that the orthodoxy of St. Augustin was de- 
rived from the Manicha^an school. 

31 The church of Rome lias canonized Augnstin, and reprobated Calvin. Yet 
as the rml difference between them is invisiljle even to a theolorrical microscope, 
the Molinists are oppressed by the authority of the s;iint, and the -Tansenists are 
disgraced by their resomblance to the lieretic. In the mean wlule. tli'^ Protes- 
tant Arminians stand aloof, and deride the ni'itual pemlexity of the (lisputajits 
(see a curious Keview of the Controversy, by Lo Clerc, Bibliotheque Universelle 
(torn. xiv. pp. 144-r.f!8). Perhaps a reasoner still more independent may smile 
in Ills turn, when he peruses au Aiminiau Conuuentary on the Epistle to the 
Koraaus. 



OF THE ROMANS" EMPIRE. 135 

master-general of the Roman armies ; but he must have 
bhished at the sight of tliose medals, in which lie was rep- 
resented with the name and attributes of victory.^- The 
discovery of Jiis fraud, the displeasure of tlie empress, and 
the distinguished favor of his rival, exasperated the liauglity 
and perfidious soul of Aetius. lie hastily returned from 
Gaul to Italy, with a retinue, or rather with an arn)y, of 
Barbarian followers ; and such was the weakness of the 
government, that the two generals decided their private 
quarrels in a bloody battle. Boniface was successful ; but 
he received in the conflict a mortal wound from the spear 
of his adversary, of which he expired within a few days, in 
such Christian and charitable sentiments, that lie exhorted 
liis wife, a rich heiress of Spain, to accept Aetius for lier sec- 
ond husband. But Aetius could not derive any immediate 
advantage from the generosity of his dying enemy ; he was 
proclaimed a rebel by the justice of Placidia ; and though 
he attempted to defend some strong fortresses, erected on his 
])atrimonial estate, the Imperial power soon compelled him 
to retire into Pannonia, to the tents of his faithful Iluns. 
The republic was deprived, by their mutual discord, of the 
service of her two most illustrious champions.^ 

It might naturally be ex])ected, after the retreat of Boni- 
face, that the Vandals w^ould achieve, without resistance or 
delay, the conquest of Africa. Eight years, however, 
elapsed, from the evacuation of Hippo to the reduction of 
Carthage. In the midst of that interval, the ambitious Gen- 
seric, in the full tide of apparent prosperity, negotiated a 
treaty of peace, by which he gave liis son Ilunneric for a 
hostage ; and consented to leave the Western em]>eror in 
the undisturbed possession of the three JVIauritanias.^* This 

32 Ducange, Fam. Byzant. p. 67. On one side, the head of Valentinian ; on 
the reverse, Boniface, with a scourge in one h.and. and a palm in the other, stand- 
ing in a triumplial car, which is drawn by four hoi-ses. or, in anotlier medal, by 
four 6taa:s ; an unlucky emblem ! 1 should doubt whether another example can 
be found of ll\e head of a 6uV)ject on the reverse of an Impeiial medal.* See 
Science des Medailles, by the Pere Jobert, torn. i. pp. 132-150, edit, of 1731', by the 
baron de la Bastie. 

"^ Trocopius (de Bell. Vandal. 1. 1. c. 3, p.lR.'i) continues the history of Boni- 
face no further than his return to Italy. His death is mentione<l by Prosper and 
IMarcellinus; the expression of the latter, that Aetius. the day before, had pro- 
yided himself with a Jnnrjcr s[)e;\r, implies something like a regvilar duel. 

34 See Proco]nus, deBell. Vandal. 1. i. c. 4. p. 18G. Valentinian published 
Severn! liumane laws, to relieve the distress of his Nurnidian and INIauritaniau 
subjects ; hi^ discharged them, in a great measure, from the payment of their 
debts, reduced their tribute to one-eighth, and gave them a, right of appeal from 
their provincial magistrates to the praefeet of Rome. Cod. Theod. torn. vi. 
Novell, pp. 11, 12. 



* Lord ]\Tanon, Life of Belisarius, p. 133, mentions one of Belisarius, on the 
authority of Cedrenus. — M, 



136 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

moderation, which cannot >3e impnted to the justice, mnst 
be ascribed to tlie policy, of the conqueror. His tlirone was?* 
encompassed with domestic enemies, wlio accused the base- 
ness of his birth, and asserted the legitimate claims of his 
nephews, the sons of Gonderic. Those nephews, indeed, 
he sacrih'ced to liis safety ; and tlieir mother, the widow of 
tlie deceased king-, was precipitated, by his order, into the 
River Am psagn. But the public discontent burst forth in 
dangerous and frequent conspiracies; and the warlike ty- 
rant is supposed to have slied more Vandal blood by the 
hand of the executioner, than in the field of battle.^^ Tlie 
convulsions of Africa, which had favored his attack, op- 
posed the finn establishment of his power; and the various 
seditions of the Moors and Germans, the Donatists and 
Catholics, continually disturl>ed, or tJireatened, the unsettled 
reigii of the conqueror. As he advanced towards Carthage, 
lie was forced to withdraw his troo])S from the Western 
provinces ; the sea-coast w^as exposed to the naval enter- 
prises of the Romans of S]>ain and Italy ; and, in the heart 
of Numidia, tlie strong inland city of Cirta still persisted 
in obstinate independence.^ These difficulties were gradu- 
ally subdued by the spirit, the perseverance, and the cruelty 
of Genseric ; Avho alternately ap])lied the arts of peace and 
war to the establishment of his African kingdom. He sub- 
scribed a solemn treaty, with the hope of tleriving some ad- 
vantage from the tenn of its continuance, and the moment 
of its A^iolation. The vigilance of Iiis enemies was relaxed 
by his protestations of friendship, which concealed his hos- 
tile approach ; and Carthage was at length surprised by the 
Vandals, five hundred and eighty-five years after the de- 
stiiiction of the city and republic by the younger Scipio.^^ 
A new city had arisen from its ruins, with the title of a 
colony; and though Carthagx? might yield to the royal pre- 
rogatives of Constantinople, and ])erhaps to the trade of 
Alexandria, or the splendor of Antioch, she still raaintJiined 
the second rank in the West ; as the Home (if we may use 
the style of contemporaries) of the African world. That 
wealthy and opulent metropolis ^^ displayed, in a dependent 

S3 Victor Vitensis, de Persecut. Vandal. 1. ii. c. .% p. 26. Tlie crtielties of 
Genseric towards his sul)jects are sLron'rIy exjiressed in Prot;i>er*s Clironicle, 
A. D. 442. 

3" Passidius, in Vit. Aug^ustin. c- 28, apud Ruinart. p. 42S. 

"' Seethe Chronicles of Idaiius, Isidore, Prosper, an<l ]\r.nrcellinns. They 
mark the same year, but different days, for tlie sarprisal of Cartha;.|e. 

'^^ The picture of Carthage, as it tlourishcd in the fourth and liftli centiiries, is 
taken from the Expositio totius JNIundi. pp. 17,18, in tln^ third volume of ilud- 
fcon's Minor Gcogra^jhers, from Ausonius de Claris Urbihus, pp. '228, 229; and 



O'T 



OF THE ROMAX EMPIRE, 13 

condition, the ima2;*e of a flourishing- rcpnblic. Carthage 
contained the manufactures^ tlie arms, and the treasures of 
the six ])rovinces. A regular subordinjition of ci\il honors 
gradually ascended from the procurators of tlie streets and 
quarters of the cit}^, tc the tribunal of the supreme magis- 
trate, wlio, Avith the title of proconsul, represented the state 
and dignity -of a consul of ancient Rome. Schools and 
gymnasia Avere instituted for the education of the African 
youth ; and the liberal arts and maimers, grammar, rhetoric, 
and philosophy, were publicly taught in the Greek and Latin 
languages. The buildings of Carthage were uniform and 
magnificent: a shady grove was ])laTited in the midst of the 
capital; the neio ])ort, a secure and capacious harbor, was 
subservient to the commercial industry of citizens and 
strangers ; and the splendid games of the circus and theatre 
were exhibited almost in tlie presence ofithe Barbarians. 
The reputation of tlie Carthaginians was not equal to that 
of their country, and the reproach of Punic faith still ad- 
hered to their subtle and faithless character.^^ The habits 
of trade, and the abuse of luxury, had corrupted their man- 
ners ; but their impious contempt of monks, and the sliame- 
less practice of unnatural lusts, are the two abominations 
which excite the pious vehemence of Salvian, the preacher 
of the age.^^ The king of the Vandals severely refonned 
the vices of a volu])tuous people ; and the ancient, noble, 
ingenuous, freedom of Carthage (these expressions of Victor 
are not without en 'rgy) was reduced by Genseric into a 
state of ignominious servitude. After he had permitted his 
licentious troops to satiate their rage and avarice, he insti- 
tuted a more regular system of rapine and oppression. An 
edict was promulgated which enjoined all persons, without 
fraud or delay, to deliver their gold,silver, jewels, and valu- 
able furniture or apparel, to the royal officei"s ; and the 
attempt to secrete any part of their patrimony Avas in- 

priucipally from Salvian, de Gubernatioiie Dei, 1. vii. pp. 257, 258. I am sur- 
prised that the Nolifia should not place either a mint, oran arsenal, at Carthage ; 
but only a tjynes.Teum, or female manufacture. 

^'J The anonymous author of the Expositio totius Mundi compares, in his bar- 
barous J^atin, the country and the inhabitants; and, after stigmati/.inj? their 
want of faith, he coolly coju-ludes, I>ithcile autem inter eos invenitiir bonus 
tamen in multis pau(iboni esse possunt. P. IS. 

•JiJ He declares, lliat tlie peculiar vices of ea<h country were collected in the 
sink of Cartha,'[re 0- vii. p. 2.")7). In the indulirence of vice, the Africans ap- 
])lauded their manly virtue. I'^t illi se matjis virilis fortiUidiiris esse credercnt, 
qui maxime vires f<eminf>i usus ])robrositate fr(>gissent (n- 2(;8). Tlie streets of 
Cartha;4e were polluted by elfetninate wreiclies, who pMbli<'ly assumed the coun- 
tenance, the dress, and the cbnractcrof women (p. 2^54). If a monk appeared in 
the city, thelmiv tumu was i)ursued with impiuus scorn aaid ridicule ; detestauti* 
bus rideiitium cuchiimis (p. 28&). 



138 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

exorably punished with cleatli and torture, as an act of 
treason against the state. The lands of the proconsular 
province, which formed the immediate district of Carthage, 
Avere accurately measured, and divided among the Barba- 
rians ; and the conqueror reserved for his joeculiar domain 
the fertile territory of Byzacium, and the adjacent parts of 
Numidia and Getulia.^^ 

It was natural enough that Genseric should hate those 
whom he had injured : the nobility and senators of Carthage 
were exposed to his jealousy and resentment; and all those 
who refused the ignominious terms, which their honor and 
religion forbade them to accept, were compelled by the 
Arian tyrant to embrace the condition of perpetual banish- 
ment. Rome, Italy, and the provinces of the East, were 
filled with a crowd of exiles, of fugitives, and of ingenuous 
captives, who solicited the jniblic compassion ; and the 
benevolent epistles of Theodoret still preserve the names 
and misfortunes of Ca^lestian and Maria. ^^ The Syrian 
bishop deplores the raisfoilunes of Caelestian, who, from the 
state of a noble and o])ulent senator of Carthage, was re- 
duced, with his wife and family, and servants, to beg his 
bread in a foreign country ; but he applauds the resignation 
of the Christian exile, and the philosophic temper, which, 
under the pressure of such calamities, could enjoy more 
real happiness than was the ordinary lot of wealth and 
prosperity. The story of Maria, the daughter of the mag- 
nificent Eudaginon, is singular and interesting. In the sack 
of Carthage, she was purchased from the Vandals by some 
merchants of Syria, who afterwards sold her as a slave in 
their native country. A female attendant, transi)orted in 
the same ship, and sold in the same family, still continued 
to respect a mistress whom fortune had reduced to the com- 
mon level of servitude ; and the daughter of Eudasmoii 
received from her grateful affection the domestic services 
which she had once required from her obedience. This re- 
markable behavior divulged the real condition of Maria, 
who, in the absence of the bishop of Cyrrhus, Avas redeemed 
from slavery by the generosity of some soldiers of the garri- 
son. The liberality of Theodoret provided for her decent 
maintenance; and she passed ten months among tlie deacon- 
esses of the church ; till she was unexpectedly informed, 

41 Compare Proeopius, de Bell, Vandal. 1. i. c. 5, pp. 189, 190, and Victor Vi- 
tensis, de Peisecut. Vandal. 1. i. c. 4. 

'^- Huinart (pp. 444-457) lias collected from Theodoret, and other authors, the 
mjsfortujies, real and fabulous, of the inhabitants of Carthage. 



OF THE ROMAN EMriRE. 139 

that her father, who had escaped from the ruin of Carthage, 
exercised an lionorable oih(;e in one of tlie Western prov- 
inces. Her filial impatience was seconded by the ])i()us 
bishop: Tlieodoret, in a letter still extant, re(;ommends Ma- 
ria to tlie bishop of -/Es^ai, a maritime city of Cilicia, which 
was frequented, during the annual fair, by the vessels of the 
West; most earnestly requesting, that his colleague would 
use the maiden with a tenderness suitable to her bii-th ; and 
that he would intrust her to the care of such faithful mer- 
chants, as would esteem it a sufficient gain, if they restored 
a daughter, lost beyond all human hope, to the arms of her 
afflicted parent. 

Among the insipid legends of ecclesiastical history, I am 
tempted to distinguish the memorable fable of the Seven" 
Sleepers ;''^ whose imnginary date corresponds Avith the 
reign of the younger Theodosius, and the conquest of 
Africa by the Vandals.''^ When the emperor Decius perse- 
cuted the Christians, seven noble youths of Ephesus con- 
cealed themselves in a spacious cavern in the side of an 
adjacent mountain ; where they were doomed to ])erish by 
the tyrant, who gave orders that the entrance should be 
firmly secured with a pile of huge stones. They immedi- 
ately fell into a deep slumber, which was miraculously j)ro- 
longed, without injuring the ])owers of life, during a period 
of one hundred and eighty-seven years. At the end of that 
time, the slaves of Adolius, to whom the inheritance of the 
mountain had descended, removed the stones to su])])ly ma- 
terials for some rustic edifice : the light of the sun darted 
into the cavern, and the Seven Sleepers were permitted to 
awake. After a slumber, as they tliought of a few hours, 
they were ])ressed by the calls of hunger ; and resolved that 
Jamblichus, one of their number, should secretly return to 
the city to ])urchase bread for the U'^e of his companions. 
The youth (if we ma}^ still employ that aj)pellation) could 
no longer recognize the once familiar aspect of his native 

^^ Tlie clioice of fabulous circumstances is of small importance; yet I have 
conlhied myself to the narrative which was translated from the Syriac by the care 
of Gregory of Tours (de Gloria 3Iarlyrum, 1. i. c. 05, in Max Bibliotheca'^ J'atrum, 
torn. xi. p. 85G\ to the Greek acts of their martynlom (apud Photium, pp. 14()(», 
1401) and to the Annals of the Patriarch Eutychius (torn. i. pp. 3^1, 531, 532, 535, 
Vers. Pocock). 

** Two Syriac writers, as they are quoted by Assemanni (Bibliot. Oriental, 
torn. i. pp. 3.JG. .338), place the resurrection of the Seven Sleeners in the year 7.JG 
(A. D. 425) or 748 (A. I). 437), of the aira of the Seleucides. ' Their Greek acts, 
■which Photiiis had read, assign the date of the thiity-eighth y(>ar or the reign of 
Theodosius, which may coiiiclile either with A. D. 439oi- 4i(!. The period wliic h 
had elapsed sime the persecution of Decius is easily ascertained ; and nothing 
less than tlie ignorance of Mahomet, or the legendaries could suppose an inter- 
val of three or four hundred years. 



140 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

country ; and liis surprise was increased by the appearance 
of a large cross, triumphantly erected over tlie ]u-iiici])al 
gate of Epliesus. His singuhir dress, and obsolete language, 
confounded the baker, to whom lie offered an ancient medal 
of Decius as the current coin of the empire ; and Jamblichus, 
on the suspicion of a secret treasure, was dragged before the 
judge. Their mutual inquiries produced the amazing dis- 
covery, that two centuries were almost elapsed since Jam- 
blichus and his friends had escaped from the rage of a 
Pagan tyrant. The bishop of Ephesus, the clergy, the 
magistrates, the people, and, as it is said, the emperor 
Theodosius himself, hastened to visit the cavern of the 
Se\'en Sleepers : who bestowed their benediction, related 
their story, and at the same instant peaceably expired. 
The origin of this marvellous fable cannot be ascribed to 
the pious fraud and credulity of the iiioderii Greeks, since 
the. authentic tradition may be traced within half a century 
of the supposed miracle. James of Sariig, a Syrian bishop, 
who was born only two years after tlie death of the younger 
Theodosius, has devoted one of his two hundred and thirty 
liomilies to the i)raise of the young men of Ej)hesus.^^ Their 
legend, before the end of the sixth century, Avas translated 
from the Svriac into the Latin lano:ua<2:e, by the care of 
Gregory of Tours. The hostile communions of the East 
preserve their memory with equal reverence; and their 
names are honorably inscribed in the Roman, the Abys- 
sinian, and the Russian calendar.^*^ Nor has their reputa- 
tion been confined to the Christian Avorld. This popular 
tale, which Mahomet might learn when he drove his camels 
to the fairs of Syria, is introduced, as a divine revelation, 
into the Koran.'*'^ The story of the Seven Sleepers has been 
adopted and adorned by the nations, from Bengal to Africa, 

*^' James, one of the orthodox fathers of the Syri^in church, was bom A. D. 
452 ; lie began 1o < ompose his sermons A. D. 474 ; he was made bishop of Batnje, 
in the district of Sarug, and province of Mesopotamia, A. 1). 5l!i, and died A. D. 
521. (Assemanni, torn. i. pp. 2SS, 289.) For tlie liomily r/c I'uc'7'is i.'plie.sinis, sue 
pp. 335-039 : tliough 1 could wisli that Assemaniii liiui translated the text of James 
of Sarug, instead of answering the objections of Baronius. 

'**i See the yic'a :Sn)ictoru)n of the Bollandists, Mensis Julii, tom. vi. pp. ."75- 
307. This immense calendar of Saints, in one hundred and tweuity-six years (1G44 
-1770), and in lifty volumes in folio, lias advancetl no further than the 7tli day of 
October*. The suppression of the Jesuits has most probably checked an umlertak- 
ing, whicli, throuah the medium oC fable and superstition, communicates much 
histori -al and phiMsopld' al instr;i''-lion. 

<' See Maraeci Alcoran. Sura xviii. tom. ii. pp. 420-427, and tom. i. part iv. p, 
ir !. With such an amph; privilege, Mahomet has r.ot shown much faste or inge- 
nuity. He has invented the <log (Al ivakim) of the Seven Sleepers ; the respect 
of tl»e sun, who altere<l his course twice a day, that Iw. might not sliine into the 
cavern ; and the care of (.iod liiniself, wl»o preserved their bodies from putrefac- 
tion, by turning them to the right and left. 



OF THE ROMAN EMriRE. 141 

"svlio profess the Maliometan religion ;^^ and some vestiges 
of a similar Iraditioii liave been diseovered in the remote 
extremities of Scandinavia.'*^ This easy and universal be- 
lief, so expressive of the sense of mankind, may be ascribed 
to the genuine merit of the fable itself. We imperceptibly 
advance from youih to age, without observing the gradual, 
but incessant, change of human affairs ; and even in our 
larger experience of history, tlu^ imagination is accustomed, 
by a perpetual series of causes and effects, to unite the most 
distant revolutions. But if the interval between two mem- 
orable a3ras could be instantly annihilated ; if it were ])ossi- 
ble, after a momentary slumber of two hundred years, to 
display tlie nev:) world to the eyes of a spectator, who still 
retained a lively and recent im])ression of the old., his sur- 
prise and his reflections would furnish the ])leasing subject 
of a ])hilosophical romance. The scene could not be more 
advantageously ])laced, than in the two centuries Avhich 
elapsed between the reigns of Decius and of Theodosius the 
Younger. During this ] eriod, the seat of government had 
been transported from Home to a new city on the banks of 
the Thracian Bosphorus ; and the abuse of military spirit 
had been suppressed by an artificial system of tame and 
ceremonious servitude. The throne of the persecuting 
Decius was filled by a succession of Christian and orthodox 
princes, avIio had extirpated the fabulous gods of antiquity : 
and the public devotion of the age was impatient to exalt 
*he saints and martyrs of the Catholic Church, on the altars 
of Diana and Hercules. The union of the Koman empire 
was dissolved; its genius was humbled in the dust; and 
armies of unknown Barbarians, issuing from the frozen re- 
gions of the North, had established their victorious reign 
over the fairest provinces of Europe and Africa. 

*^ See D'Herbelot, Bibliothfeque Orientale, p- 139 ; and Renaudot, Hist- Patri- 
arch. Alexamlriii. pp.39, 40. 

^'J Paul, the deacon of Aquileia (de Oestis Langobardorum, 1. i. c, 4, pp. 745, 
746, edit. Grot.), who lived towards the end of the eighth cejitnry, has placed in a 
cavern, under a rock, on tlie shore of the ocean, the Seven Sleepers of the North, 
whose long repose was respected by the Barbarians. Their dress declared theni 
to be Romans; and the deacon conjectures, that they were reserved by Providenco 
as the future apostles of those unbelieving countries. 



142 



THE DECLINE AND FALL 



CHAPTER XXXIY. 

THE CHARACTER, CONQUESTS, AND COURT OF ATTILA, KING 

OF THE HUXS. DEATH OF THEODOSIUS THE YOUNGER. — ■ 

ELEVATION OF MARCIAN TO THE EMPIRE OF THE EAST. 

The Western world was oppressed by the Goths and 
Vandals, Avho fled before the Huns; but the achievements 
of the Huns themselves were not adequate to their power 
and prosperity. Their victorious hordes had spread from 
the Yol<j::a to the Danube ; but the public force was ex- 
liausted by the discord of independent chieftains ; their 
A'alor was idly consumed in obscure and predatory excur- 
sions; and they often degraded tlieir national dignity, by 
condescending, for the hopes of s])c)il, to enlist under the 
banners of their fugitive enemies. In the reign of Attila,^ 
the Huns again became the terror of the world ; and I shall 
now describe the character and actions of that formidable 
Barbarian; who alternately insulted and invaded the East 
and the West, and urged the rapid downfall of the JRoman 
em])ire. 

In the tide of emigration which impetuously rolled from 
the confines of China to those of Germany, the most power- 
ful and populous tribes may commonly be found on the 
verge of the Koman provinces. The accumulated Aveight 
Avas sustained for a while by artificial barriers ; and the easy 
condescension of the emperors invited, "without satisfying, 
the insolent demands of the Barbarians, who had acquired 
an eager appetite for the luxuries of civilized life. The 
Hungarians, Avho ambitiously insert the name of Attila 
among their native kings, may affirm witli truth that the 
hordes, which were subject to his uncle Roas, or Rugilas, 

^ The antbentic materials for the histoiy of Attila may be found in Jor- 
nandes (de Rebus Geticis, c. 31-50, pp. G68-(kS8, edit. Grot.) and Priscus (Excerpta 
de Legationibus, pp. 33-76, Paris, lG4.s). I have not seen the lives of Altila, com- 
posed by Juvencus C:3elius Calanus Dalmatinus, in the twelfth centuiy, or by 
Nicholas Olahus, archbishop of Gran, in the sixteenth. See Mascou's His oryof 
the Germans, ix. 23, and ISL'iffei Osservazioui Litterarie, torn i. pn. KS, 89. What- 
ever the modern Hun<ian;iiishave added must be fabulous ; oi'dtb^'- do not se* m 
to have excelled in the art of fiction. They suppose, that when Attila invaded 
Gaul and Italy, marriad innumerable wives, &c., he was one hundred and 
twenty years of age. Thev/rocz Chi on. p. i. c. 22, in Script. Hungar. torn. I. 
p. 76. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 143 

hncl foniied their encampments witliin the limits of modern 
Hungary,'- in a fertile country, which liberally su])|)lie(l tlie 
Ayants of a nation of hunters and she|)herd8. In lliis advan- 
tageous situation, Rugilas, and his yaliant brothers, \vlio con- 
tinually added to their ])OAver and i-e])utation, commanded 
the alternatiye of ]ieace or war with the two em])iies. His 
alliance with the Romans of the West was cemented by Ids 
personal friendship for the great Aetius ; who was ahyays 
secure of finding, in the Barbarian camp, a hosjMtable recep- 
tion and a powerful suj)j)ort. At his solicitation, and in the 
name of Jolin the usurper, sixty thousand Huns adyanced 
to the coniines of Italy ; their march and their retreat were 
alike expensiyc to tlie state; and the grateful policy of 
Aetius abandoned the possession of Pannonia to his faithful 
confederates. The Romans of the East were not less apjire- 
hensiye of the arms of Rugilas, which threatened the ])roy- 
inces, or eyen the ca])ital. Some ecclesiastical historians 
liaye destroyed the Barbarians with lightning and ])esti- 
lence ; ^ but Theodosius was reduced to the more humble 
expedient of stipulating an annual ])ayment of three hun- 
dred and fifty pounds of gold, and of disguising this dishon- 
orable tribute by the title of general, which tlie king of the 
Huns condescended to acce])t. The public tranquillity was 
frequently interrupted by the fierce impatience of the Bar- 
barians, and the ])erfidious intrigues of the Byzantine court. 
Four dej)endent nations, among whom we may distinguish 
the Bavarians, disclaimed the sovereignty of the Huns; and 
their revolt Avas encouraged and protected by a Roman alli- 
ance ; till the just claims, and formidable ])ower, of Rugilas, 
were effectually urged by the voice of Eslaw his ambassa- 
dor. Peace was the unanimous wish of the senate : their 

2 Hungary has been successively occupied by three Scythian colonies. 1. The 
Huns of Attila ; 2. The Abar^ s, in the sixth century ; and, 3. 'J'he Turks or i\Ia- 
giars, A. 1). St>!) ; the iinniediate and genuine ancestors of the modern Hun- 
garians, whose connection with the two former is extremely faint and remote. 
The yYor/ro»i»,-f and Ao/i/(rt of Matthew Beiius appear to contain a rich fund of 
information concerning ancient and modern Hungary. I liave seen the extracts 
in Bibliotheque Ancienne et Moderne, torn. xxii. pp. 1-51, and Bibliotheque 
liaisoiniee. tom. xvi, pp. I'JT-lTf).* 

^ Socrates, 1. vii. c. 4.'?. Theodoret, 1. v. c. 3G. Tillemont, who always depends 
on tiie faith of his ecclesiastical authors, strenuously contends (Hist, des Enip. 
tom. vi. pp. luG, GOT) that the wars and personages were not the same. 



* Maildth (in his Geschicht'? der Magyaren) considers the question of the ori- 
gin of the JMagyani as still undecided. The old Hungarian chronicles unani- 
mously derived them from the Huns of Attila. See note, vol. i v. pp. 311,342. 
The later opinion, adopted by Schlozer, Belnay, and Dankowsky. ascribes them, 
from their language, to the Finnish race, Fessler, in his history of Hungary, 
ai^rees with CMhbou in siip])Osing them Turks. Mailaih has inserted an ingenious 
dissertation of Fejer, whi<h attemjits to connect them with the Parthians. Vol. 
i. Ammerkungen, p. 50.— M. 



144 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

decree was ratified by the cm]^cror; and two ambassadors 
were named, Plintlias, a general of Scytliian extraction, but 
of consular i-ank; aiul the quaestor Epigenes, a wise and 
experienced statesman, who was recommended to that office 
by his ambitious colleague. 

The death of Rugilas suspended the progress of the 
treaty. Ilis two nephews, Attihi and Bleda, wlio succeeded 
to the throne of tlieir uncle, consented to a personal' inter- 
view Avith the ambassadors of Constantinople ; but as they 
proudl}^ refused to dismount, the business was transacted 
on horseback, in a spacious plain near the city of Margus, in 
the Upper Ma^sia. Tlie kings of the Huns assumed the solid 
benefits, as well as the vain honors, of the negotiation. 
They dictated the conditions of peace, and each condition 
was an insult on the majesty of the empire. Besides the 
fi'cedom of a safe and plentiful market on the banks of the 
Danube, they required that the annual contribution should 
be augmented from three hundred and fifty to seven hun- 
dred ])Ounds of gold; that a fine or ransom of eight pieces 
of gold should be paid for every Koman captive who had 
escaped from his Barbarian master ; that the emperor should 
renounce all treaties and engagements with the enemies of 
the Huns ; and that all the fugitives who had taken refuge 
in the court or provinces of Theodosius, should be delivered 
to the justice of their offended sovereign. This justice was 
rigorously inflicted on some unfortunate youths of a royal 
race. They were crucified on the territories of the em])ire, 
by the command of Attila : and as soon as the king of the 
Huns had impressed the Romans with the terror of his 
name, he indulged them in a short and arbitrary respite, 
whilst he subdued the rebellious or independent nations of 
Scythia and Germany.* 

Attila, the son of Mundzuk, deduced his noble, perhaps 
his regal, descent ^ from the ancient Huns, who had formerly 
contended with the monarchs of China. His features, ac- 
cording to the observation of a Gothic historian, bore tlie 
stamp of his national origin ; and the portrait of Attila ex- 
hibits the genuine deformity of a modern Calmuk ; "^ a large 

* See Priscus pp. 47, 48, and Hist des Peuples de I'Europe, torn. vii. c. xii. 
xiii. xiv. XV. 

5 Priscu-, p. 39. The modern Hungarians have deduced his genealogy, whicli 
ascends in the thirty-fifth degree, to Ham, the son of Noah ; yet they are ignorant 
of liis father's real name, (De Guignes, Hist, des Huns, tom. ii. p. 297). 

« Compare Jornandes (c. 3."), p. G(;l) with BniTon, Hist. Naturelle, tom. iii. p. 
3150. Tlie former hnd a right to obscve, origiiiis sua? sign;! re titiiens. The 
character and portrait of Attila are probably transcribed from Cassiodorus. 



OF THE ROM AX EMPIRE. 145 

head, a swartliy complexion, small, deep-seated eyes, a flat 
nose, a few hairs in the place of a beard, broad shoulders, 
and a 4short square body, of nervous strength, though of a 
disproportloned form. *The haugl)ty step and demeanor of 
the king of the Iluns ex])ressed the consciousness of his 
superiority above the rest of mankind; and lie liad a custom 
of liercely rolling his eyes, as if he wislied to enjoy the 
terror which he "inspired. Yet this savage hero was not 
inaccessible to ]>ity ; his sup])liant enemies might coniide in 
tlie assurance of peace or ])ardon ; and Attila was considered 
by his subjects as a just and indulgent master, lie delighted 
in war ; but, after he had ascended the throne in a mature 
age, liis head, rather than his hand, achieved the conquest 
ofthel^orth; and the fame of an adventurous soldier was 
usefully exchanged for that of a prudent and successful 
general. The effects of personal valor are so inconsiderable, 
except in poetry or romance, that victory, even among Barba- 
rians, must depend on the degree of skill with wliich the 
passions of the multitude are combined and guided for the 
service of a single man. The Scythian conquerors, Attila 
and Zingis, surpassed their rude countrymen in art rather 
than in courage ; and it may be observed that the monarch- 
ies, both of the Iluns and of the Moguls, were erected by 
their founders on the basis of popular superstition. The 
miraculous conception, which fraud and credulity ascribed 
to the virgin-mother of Zingis, raised him above the level 
of human nature; and the naked ])rophet, who in the name 
of the Deity invested him with the empire of the earth, 
pointed the valor of the Moguls with irresistible enthu- 
siasm.'^ The religious arts of Attila were not less skilfully 
adapted to the character of his age and country. It was 
natural enough that the Scythians should adore, with pe- 
culiar devotion, the god of war; but as they were incapable 
of forming either an abstract idea, or a corporeal representa- 
tion, they worshipped their tutelar deity under the symbol 
vi an iron cimeter.'^ One of the shepherds of the Huns per- 



' Abulpharag. Dynast, vers. Pocoolc, p. 281. Genealogical History of the Tar- 
iar.s, by Abulghazi Bahader Khan, part. iii. c. 15, part iv. c. 3. Vie de Gen^iscan, 




.._.,, ^ J. » o c. — - i- . o 'Sty 

God. &c., &c. 

'^ Nee teniplura apnd eos visitur, aut delnbrum. no tn<rurium qindem culmo 
tectum cerni nsqnam potest ; sed r/ 1 ad his Barl^arioo ritu hnmi litjitnr nudns, 
cinnqneut INlartem regionura quasVironmcircant prresntem verecundius cohint. 
Ammian. Marcellin. xxxi. 2, and the Icarjicd notes -of Lindenbrogius and Ya- 
lesius. 

Vol. IIL— 10 



146 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

ceived, that a heifer, who was grazing, had wounded lierself 
in the foot, and curiously followed the track of the blood, 
till he discovered, among the long grass, the point of an 
ancient sword, which he dug out of the ground and pre- 
sented to Attila. That magnanimous, or rather that artful, 
prince accepted, with pious gratitude, this celestial favor ; 
and, as the rightful possessor of the sioord of Mars ^ asserted 
his divine and indefeasible claim to the dominion of the 
earth.^ If the rites of Scythia were practiced on this solemn 
occasion, a lofty altar, or rather pile of fagots, three liundred 
yards in length and in breadth, was raised in a spacious 
plain ; and the sword of Mars was placed erect on the sum- 
mit of this rustic altar, which was annually consecrated by 
the blood of sheep, horses, and of the hundredth captive.^^ 
Whether human sacrifices formed any part of the Avorship 
of Attila, or whether he ])ropitiated the god of war Avith the 
victims Avhich he continually offered in the field of battle, 
the favorite of Mars soon acquired a sacred character, which 
rendered his conquests more easy and more permanent; and 
the Barbarian princes confessed, in the language of devotion 
or flattery, that they could not presume to gaze, with a 
steady eye, on the divine majesty of the king of the 
Huns.-^^ His brother Bleda, who reigned over a considerable 
part of the nation, was compelled to resign his sceptre and 
his life. Yet even this cruel act was attributed to a super- 
natural impulse ; and the vigor with Avhich Attila wielded 
the sword of Mars, convinced the world that it had been 
reserved alone for his invincible arm.^^ But the extent of 
his empire affords the only remaining evidence of the num- 
ber and importance of his victories; and the Scythian mon- 
arch, however ignorant of the value of science and philos- 
ophy, might perhaps lament that his illiterate subjects were 
destitute of the art which could perpetuate the memory of 
his exploits. 

9 Priscus relates this remarkable story, both in his own text (p. 65) and in the 
quotation made by Jornandes (c. 35, p. 662). He might have explained the tra- 
dition, or fable, wliich characterized this famous sword, and the name, as well as 
attributes, of the Scythian deity, whom he has translated into the Mars of the 
Greeks and Romans. 

10 Herodot. 1- iv. c. 62. For the sake of economy,! have calculated by the 
smallest stadium. In the human sacritices, they cut off the shoulder and arm of 
the victim, which they threw up into the air, and drew omens and presages from 
the manner of their falling on the pile. 

11 Priscus, p. .55. A more civilized hero, Augustus himself, was pleased, if the 
person on whom he fixed his eyes seemed unable to support their divine lustre. 
Sueton. in August, c. 70. 

12 The Count de Buat (Hist, des Peuples de I'Europe, torn. vii. pp. 428, 429) at- 
tempts to clear Attila from the murder of his brother ; and is almost inclined to 
reject the concurrent testimony of Jornandes, and the contemporary Chroni- 
cles. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 147 

If a line of separation were drawn between tlic civilized 
and the savage elirnates of the globe ; between the inhaln- 
tants of cities, who cultivated the eailh, and the Ininters and 
shepherds, who dwelt in tents, Attila might asj^ire to the 
title of su})renie and sole monarch of the J^arbarians.^^ lie 
alone, among the conquerors of ancient and modern times, 
united the two mighty kingdoms of Germany and Scythia ; 
and those vague appellations, when they are a])plied to his 
reign, may be understood with an am|)le latitude. Thu- 
ringia, which stretched beyond its actual limits as far :is the 
Danube, was in the number of his provinces; lie inter- 
])osed, witii the weight of a powerful neighbor, in the 
domestic affairs of the Franks ; and one of his lieutenants 
chastised, and almost exterminated, the Burgundians of the 
Rhine. He subdued the islands of the ocean, the kingdoms 
of Scandinavia, encompassed and divided by the waters of 
the Baltic ; and the Iluns might derive a tribute of furs 
from that northern region, which has been protected from 
all other conquerors by the severity of the climate and the 
courage of the natives. Towards the East, it is difficult 
to circumscribe the dominion of Attila over the Scythian 
deserts ; yet we may be assured, that he reigned on the 
banks of the Volga ; that the king of the Iluns was dreaded, 
not oidy as a warrior, but as a magician ; ^^ that he insulted 
and vanquished the khan of the formidable Geougen ; and 
that he sent ambassadors to negotiate an equal alliance with 
the empire of China. In the proud review of the nations 
who acknowledged the sovereignty of Attila, and who 
never entertained, during his lifetime, the thought of a 
revolt, the Gepida? and the Ostrogoths were distinguished 
by their numbers, their bravery, and the personal merit of 
their chiefs. The renowned Ardaric, king of the Gepida?, 
was -the faithful and sagacious counsellor of the monarch, 
who esteemed his intrepid genius, whilst he loved the mild 
and discreet virtues of the noble Walamir, king of the 
Ostrogoths. The crowd of vulgar kings, the leaders of so 
many martial tribes, who served under the standard of 
Attila, were ranged in the submissive order of guards and 

1^ Fortissimarum gentium domiims, qui inandita ante se potentia, solvis 
Scythica et Gerinanica regna possedit. «loniaiides. e. 49, p, 684, Priscus, pp. 64, 
65. M. de Guignes, by liis knowledge of the Chinese, has acquired (torn. ii. pp. 
295-;501) an adequate idea of the empire of Attila. 

•* See Hist, des Huns, torn. ii. p. 2f)6. TJie Geougen believed that the Iluns 
could excite, at pleasure, storms of wind and rain. This phe'iomenon was pro- 
duced by the stone Ocz'i: to whose magic j)(>wer the loss of a battle wns ascribed 
by The Maliometan Tartars of the fourteenth century. See Cherefeddiu Ali, Hist, 
de Timur Bee, torn. i. pp. S2, S3, 



148 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

domestics round the person of their master. . They watched 
his nod ; they trembled at his frown ; and at the first signal 
of his will, they executed, without murmur or hesitation, his 
stern and absolute commands. In time of peace, the depend- 
ent princes, with their national troops, attended the royal 
camp in regular succession ; but when Attila collected his 
military force, he was able to bring into the field an army of 
five, or, according to another account, of seven hundred 
thousand Barbarian s.^^ 

The ambassadors of the ITuns might awaken the at- 
tention of Theodosius, by reminding him that they were his 
neighbors both in Europe and Asia; since they touched tlie 
Danube on one hand, and reached, with the other, as far as 
the Tanais. In the reign of his father Arcadius, a band of 
adventurous Iluns had ravaged the provinces of the East ; 
from whence they brought away rich spoils and innumerable 
captives.^® They advanced, by a secret path, along the 
shores of the Caspian Sea ; traversed the snowy mountains 
of Armenia ; passed the Tigris, the Euphrates, and tlie 
Halys ; recruited their Aveary cavalry with the generous 
breed of Cappadocian horses : occupied the hilly country of 
Cilicia, and disturbed the festal songs and dances of the 
citizens of Antioch. Eg3'pt trembled at their approach ; 
and the monks and julgrims of the Holy Land prepared to 
escape their fury by a speedy embarkation. The memory of 
this invasion Avas still recent in the minds of the Orientals. 
The subjects of Attila might execute, with superior forces, 
the design which these adventurers had so boldly attempted ; 
and it soon became the subject of anxious conjecture, 
whether the tempest would fall on the dominions of Ilome, 

'5 Jornandes, c. 35, p, 661, c. 37, p. 667. See Tilleinont, Hist, des Empereurs, 
torn. vi. pp. 129, 138. Corueill:^ has represented the pride of Attila to his subject 
kings, uiid his tragedy opens with these two ridiculous lines : — 

lis ne sont pas venus, nos deux rois ! qu'on leur die 
Qu'ils se font Irop attendre, et qu'Attila s'ennuie. 

The two kings of the Gepidre and the Ostrogoths are profound politicians and 
Bentiniental lovers ; and the whole piece exhibits the defects, without the genius, 
of the poet. 

" alii per Caspia claustra 

Armeniasque nives, inopino tniniite ducti 
Invadunt Orientis opes : jam pascua f umant 
Cappadocuni, volucrurnque parens Argfcus equorum. 
Jam rubet altus Halys ; nee se defendit iniquo. 
Monte Cilix ; Syria) tractus vestantur amanii ; 
Assuetunique choris, et Ijuta plebe canorum, 
Proterit imbellum sonipes hostilis Orontem. 

Claudian, in Rufin. 1. ii. 28-r!5. 

See likewise, in Eutrop. 1. i. 243-251, and the strong description of Jeroni, who 
wrote from his feelings, toni. i. j). 26, ad Heliodor. p. 200, ad Ocean. Philostoi' 
gius (1. ix. c. 8) mentions this irruption. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 149 

or of Persia. Some of the great vassals of the king of the 
Huns, wlio were themselves in the rank of powerful j^rinces, 
had been sent to ratify an alliance and society of arms with 
tlie emperor, or rather with the general, of the West. They 
related, during their residence at Rome, the' circumstances 
of an expedition, which they had lately made into the East. 
After passing a desert and a morass, supposed by the Ro- 
mans to be the Lake Maeotis, they penetrated through the 
mountains, and arrived, at the end of fifteen days' march, on 
the confines of Media; Avhere they advanced as far as the 
unknown cities of Basic and Cursic."* They encountered 
the Persian army in the plains of Media ; and the air, ac- 
cording to their own expression, was darkened by a cloud 
of arrows. But the Huns were obliged to retire before the 
numbers of the enemy. Their laborious retreat was effected 
by a different road ; they lost the greatest part of their 
booty ; and at length returned to th'e royal camp, with some 
knowledge of the country, and an impatient desire of 
revenge. In the free conversation of the Imperial ambas- 
sadors, who discussed, at the court of Attila, the character 
and designs of their formidable enemy, the ministers of 
Constantinople expressed their hope, that his strength might 
be diverted and employed in a long and doubtful contest 
with the princes of the house of Sassan. The more saga- 
cious Italians admonished their Eastern brethren of the folly 
and danger of such a hope ; and convinced them, that the 
Medes and Persians were incapable of resisting the arms of 
tlie Huns; and that the easy and important acquisition 
would exalt the pride, as well as power, of the conqueror. 
Instead of contenting himself M'ith a moderate contribution, 
and a military title, which equalled him only to the generals 
of Theodosius, Attila would proceed to impose a disgrace- 
ful and intolerable yoke on the necks of the prostrate and 
captive Romans, who would then be encompassed, on all 
sides, by the empire of the Huns.^^ 

While the powers of Europe and Asia were solicitous to 
avert the impending danger, the alliance of Attila main- 
tained the Vandals in the possession of Africa. An enter- 
prise had been concerted between the courts of Ravenna 

1^ See the original conversation in Priscus, pp. 64, 05. 



* Gibbon has made a cnrious mistake ; Basic and Cursic were the names of 

the COniniaildcrS of tlie Huns. \\a.pf.Ky\Kv9ivai Ik es rrji/ Mr)8ajj/ rbf re Bacrix ko-*. 
Kovpcrtx- * * * o.vhpa.% riav BacrtAei'iot' '%KvQiiiv /cat ttoAAoO 7rArJ0ous ap^ot'Tas. Pl'is- 

cuSj edit. Bonn, p. 200.— M. 



150 THE DECLIXE AXD FALL 

and Constaritiiiople, for the recovery of that valuable 
province; and the ports of Sicily were already filled with 
the military and naval forces of Theodosius. But the 
subtle Genseric, who spread his negotiations round the 
world, prevented their designs, by exciting the king of 
the Huns to invade the Eastern empire ; and a trifling in- 
cident soon became the motive, or pretence, of a destruct- 
ive war.^*^ Under the faith of the treaty of Margus, a 
free market was held on the Xorthern side of the Danube, 
wdiich was protected by a Roman fortress surnamed Gon- 
stantia. A troop of Barbarians violated the commercial 
security ; killed, or dispersed, the unsuspecting traders ; and 
levelled the fortress with the ground. The Huns justified 
this outrage as an act of reprisal ; alleged, that the bishop 
of Margus had entered their territories, to discover and 
steal a secret treasure of their kings ; and sternly demanded 
the guilty prelate, the sacrilegious spoil, and the fugitive 
subjects, who had escaped from the justice of Attila. The 
refusal of the Byzantine court Avas the signal of war ; and 
the Msesians at first applauded the generous fii-mncss of 
their sovereign. But they were soon intimidated by the de- 
struction of Yiminiacum and the adjacent towns ; and the 
people was persuaded to adopt the convenient maxim, that 
a private citizen, liowever innocent or respectable, may be 
justly sacrificed to the safety of his country. The bishop 
of Margus, who did not possess the spirit of a martyr, re- 
solved to prevent the designs which he suspected. He 
boldly treated with the ])rinces of the Huns ; secured, by 
solemn oaths, his ])ardon and reward ; posted a numerous 
detachment of Barbarians, in silent ambush, on the banks of 
the Danube ; and, at the appointed hour, opened, with his 
own hand, the gates of his episcopal city. This advantage, 
which had been obtained by treachery, served as a prelude 
to more honorable and decisive victories. The Illyrian 
frontier was covered by a line of castles and fortresses ; and 
though the greatest part of them consisted only of a single 
tower, with a small garrison, they were commonly sufficient 
to repel, or to intercept, the inroads of an enemy, who was 

1'' Prisons, p. 3.31. His history contained a copious and elegant account of the 
war (Evagriiis, 1. i. c. 17) ; but the extracts which relate to the embassies are tlie 
only parts that have reach' d our times. The original work was accessible, how- 
ever, to the writers from whom we borrow our iuiperfect knowledge, »Iornandes, 
Theophanes, (!ount Manndlinus, Prosper-Tyro, aiui the author of the Ale.\an- 
drian, or Paschal, Clnoiide. M. de Buat (Hist, des Peuples de I'Kurope, torn, 
vii. c. XV.) has examined the cause, the circumstances, ami the duraiion, of this 
war ; and will not allow it to extend beyond the year -Hi. 



OF THE KOMAN EMPIRE. 151 

ignorant of the art, and impatient of the delay, of a regular 
sieGje. But these slight obstacles were instantly swept away 
by the inundation of the Iluns.^^ They destroyed, with fire 
and sword, the poj)ulous cities of Sinnium and Singidunum, 
of Tlatiaria and Maroianopolis, of Kaissus and Sardica ; 
where every circumstance of the discipline of the people, 
and the construction of the buildings, had been gradually 
adapted to the sole purpose of defence. The whole breadth 
of Europe, as it extends above five hundred miles from the 
Euxine to the Iladriatic, was at once invaded, and occupied, 
and desolated, by the myriads of Barbarians whom Attila 
led into the field. The ])ublic danger and distress could 
not, however, provoke Theodosius to interrupt his amuse- 
ments and devotion, or to appear in j^erson at the head of 
the Roman legions. But the troops, which had been sent 
against Genseric, were h;istily recalled from Sicily ; the gar- 
risons, on the side of Persia, were exhausted ; and a mili- 
tary force was collected in Europe, formidable by their 
arms and numbers, if the generals had understood the 
science of command, and their soldiers the duty of obedi- 
ence. The armie^ of the Eastern empire were vanquished 
in three successive engagements ; and the progress of Attila 
may be traced by the fields of battle. The two former, on 
the banks of the Utus, and under the w^alls of Maroianopolis, 
were fought in the extensive plains between the Danube and 
Mount Haemus. As the Komans were pressed by a vic- 
torious enemy, they gradually, and unskilfully, retired to- 
w^ards the Chersonesus of Thrace; and that narrow j^enin- 
sula, the last extremity of the land, was marked by their 
third, and irreparable, defeat. By the destruction of this 
army, Attila acquired the indis])utable possession of the 
field. From the Hellespont to Thermopylae, and the sub- 
nrhs of Constantinople, he ravaged, without resistance, and 
■without mercy, the provinces of Thrace and Macedonia. 
Ileraclea and ITadrianople might, perhaps, escape this dread- 
ful irruption of the Huns ; but the w^ords, the most expres- 
sive of total extirpation and erasure, are applied to the 
calamities which they inflicted on seventy cities of the East- 
ern empire. ^"^ Theodosius, his court, and the unwarlike 
people, were protected by the walls of Constantinople ; 

^5 Procopius, de Edificiis, 1. 4. c. 5. These fortresses were afterwards restored, 
strengthened, and enlarged by the Emperor Justinian ; but tliey were soon de. 
stroyed by the Abaros, who succeeded to the power and possessions of the Huns. 

2>J Septuaginta civitates (says Prosper-Tyro) depredatione vastatae. The lan- 
guage of Count Marcellinus isstill more forcible. Pene totam Europam, invasia 
excisisque civitatibus atque castellis, conrasit. 



152 THE DECLIXE AXD FALL 

but tliose walls had been sliaken by a recent earth qiialve, 
and the fall of fifty-eight towers had opened a large and 
tremendous breach. The damag'e indeed was speedily re- 
paired ; but this accident was aggravated by a superstitious 
fear, that Heaven itself had delivered the Imperial city to 
the shepherds of Scythia, who were strangers to the laws, 
the language, and the religion, of the Romans.-^ 

In all their invasions of the civilized empires of the 
South, the Scythian shej)herds have been uniformly actuated 
by a savage and destructive spirit. The laws of war, that 
restrain the exercise of national rapine and murder, are 
founded on two principles of substantial interest ; the knowl- 
edge of the permanent benefits which may be obtained by a 
modei'ate use of conquest ; and a just ap})rehension, lest the 
desolation which we inflict on the enemy's country may be 
retaliated on our own. But these considerations of hope 
and fear are almost unknown in the pastoral state of nations. 
The Huns of Attila may, Avithout injustice, be compared to 
the JMogiils and Tartars, before tlieir primitive manners 
were changed by religion and luxury ; and the evidence of 
Oriental history may reflect some light on the short and im- 
perfect annals of Rome. After the Moguls had subdued 
the northern provinces of China, it was seriously proposed, 
not in the hour of victory and passion, but in calm deliberate 
council, to exterminate all the inhabitants of that populous 
country, that the A'acant land might be converted to the 
pasture of cattle. The firmness of a Chinese mandarin,-^^ 
who insinuated some principles of rational policy into the 
mind of Zingis, diverted him from the execution of this 
horrid design. But in the cities of Asia, which yielded to 
the Moguls, the inhuman abuse of the rights of war was ex- 
ercised with a regular form of discipline, which may, with 
equal reason, though not with equal authority, be imputed 
to the victorious Huns. The inhabitants, who had submit- 

2' Tillemoiit (Hist, des Empereurs, torn. vi. pp. 106, 107) has paid gi-eat atten- 
tion to this jnemorable earthquake ; which was felt as far from Constantinople- 
as Antiofh and Alexandria, and is celebrated by all the ecclesiastical writers. In 
the hands oc a popular preacher, an earthquake is an engine of admirable 
effect. 

-- He_ represented to the emperor of the IVloguls that the four provinces 
(Petcheli, Chantong, Chansi, and LeaolongV, which he already possessed, might 
annually produce, under a mild administration, 500.000 oxnices of silver, 400,000 
meas^ures of rice, and S0O,O0() pieces of silk. Gaubil, Hist- de la Dynastie des 
Mongous, pp. 58, 50. Yelutchousay (such v/as the name of the mandarin) was 
a wise and virtuous minister, who saved his country, and civilized the con- 
querors.* 



* Compare the life of this remarkable man, translated from the Chinese by IVL 
Abel Kemusat Xouveaux Melanges Asiatiques, t- ii. p. 64.— M. 



OF THE iio3rA:N' empike. • 153 

ted to tlieir discretion, were ordered to evacnnte their 
houses, and to assemble in some plain adjacent to th.e city ; 
■where a division was made of the A^anquislied into three parts. 
The first class consisted of the soldiers of the gari'ison, and 
of the young men ca])able of bearing arms; and their fnte 
was instantly decided; they were either enlisted among the 
Moguls, or they Avere massacred on the spot by the troops, 
who, with j^ointed spears and bended bo\vs, liad formed a 
circle round the captive multitude. The second class, com- 
posed of the young and beautiful women, of the artificers of 
every rank and profession, and of the more wealthy or 
lionorable citizens, from whom a private ransom might be 
ex[)ectcd, was distributed in equal or proportionable lots. 
The remainder, whose life or death was alike useless to the 
conquerors, Avere permitted to return to the city ; which, in 
the mean Avhile, had been stripped of its valuable furniture ; 
and a tax was im])osed on those wretched inhabitarits for 
the indulgence of breathing their native air. Such was the 
behavior of the Moguls. Avhen they were not conscious of 
any extraordinary rigor.^^ But the most casual provoca- 
tion, the slightest motive of caprice or convenience, often 
provoked them to involve a Avhole j)eople in an indiscrimi- 
nate massacre ; and the ruin of some flourishing cities was 
executed with such unrelenting perseverance, that, accord- 
ing to their own expression, horses might run, without 
stumbling, over the ground Avhere they had once stood. 
The three great cai)itals of Khorasan, and Mnru, Neisabour, 
and Herat, Avere destroyed by the armies of Zingis ; and the 
exact account Avhich Avas taken of the slain amounted to 
four millions three hundred and forty-seven thousand per- 
sons."^^ Timur, or Tamerlane, was educated in a less bar- 
barous age, and in the profession of the Mahometan religion ; 
yet, if Attila equalled the hostile ravnges of Tamerlane,-^ 

"T Parlicnlar instances would he endless ; hnt the eiirioTig reader may eorisnTt 
the life of Geiigiscaii, by Petit <le la Croix, the llistoire des Mongous, and the 
lifteenth book of the History of the Hniis. 

^^ AtMaru, 1 .:J00,()0() ; at Herat, ],G0O,O()0; atNeisahour, 1,747,000. D'Herhelot, 
Bibliotlieque Orieniale, pp. 3fS0, o.sl , 1 use tlie ortliograiihy of i>' Ayville's maps 
It must, however, be allowed, that the Persians were disposed to exaggerate 
their losses and the Moguls to magnify their exploits. 

-^ Cherefeddin Ali, his servile panegyrist, wouhl utTord us many hoirid exam- 
ples. In his camp before Delia, Timour massacred 1()0,0()(» Indian prisoners who 
had smihd when the army of their countrymen ajtpeared in sight (Hist, de 'linnir 
Bee, torn. iii. p. DO). The'people of Ispahan supplied 70,000 human skulls for tho 
structure of several lofty towers (id. torn. i. p. 4.'U). A similar tax was levi 'd on 
the revolt of Bagdad (tom. iii. p. 370) ; and the exact account, which Cherefeddin 
was not able \u inocure from the proper' ofrici^rs. is stated by another historian 
(Ahmed Arabsiada, tom. it. p. 175, vers. Manger) at i;0,000 heads. 



154 THE DECLIJS^E AND FALL 

either the Tartar or the Ilun might deserve the epithet of 
the Scourge of God.^*^ 

It may be affirmed, witli bohler assurance, that the Huns 
depopuLated the provinces of the empire, by the murder of 
Koman subjects whom they led away into captivity. In the 
hands of a wise legislator, such an industrious colony might 
have contributed to diffuse through tlie deserts of Scvthia 
the rudiments of the useful and ornamental arts ; but these 
captives, who had been taken in war, were accidentally dis- 
persed among the hordes that obeyed the empire of Attila. 
The estimate of their respective value was formed by the 
simple judgment of unenlightened and nnprejudiced Bar- 
barians. Perhaps they might not understand the merit of 
a theologian, ])rofoundly skilled in the controversies of the 
Trinity and the In '-arnation ; yet they respected the minis- 
ters of every religion ; and the active zeal of the Christian 
missionaries, without approaching the 2:>erson or the palace 
of the monarch, successfully labored in the propagation of 
the gospel.'^ The pastoral tribes, who were ignorant of the 
distinction of landed property, must have disregarded the 
use, as well as the abuse, of civil jurisprudence ; and the 
skill of an eloquent lawyer could excite only their contempt 
or their abhorrence.^^ The perpetual intercourse of the 
Huns and the Goths had communicated the familiar knowl- 
edge of the two national dialects; and tlie Barbarians were 
ambitious of conversing in Latin, the military idiom even of 
the Eastern empire.^^ But they disdained the language and 
the sciences of the Greeks; and the vain sophist, or grave 
philosopher, who had enjoyed tlie flattering applause of the 
schools, was mortified to find that his robust servant was a 
captive of more value and importance than himself. The 
mechanic arts were encouraged and esteemed, as they tend- 
ed to satisfy the wants of the Huns. An architect in the 

-•5 The ancients, Jornandes, Prisciis, &c., are ignorant of this epithet. The 
modern Hungarians have imagined, that it was applied, by a hermit of Gaul, to 
Attila, who was pleased to insert it among the titles of liis royal dignity. ]Mas- 
cou, ix. 23, and Tillemont, Hist, des Empereurs. lom. vi. p. 143. 

^'' The missionaries of St. Chrysostom had converted great numbers of tlie 
Scythians, who dwelt beyond the Danube i}i tents and wagons. Theodoret, 1. v. 
c. 31. Photius, p. 1517. The INIahometans, the Nestorians, and the Latin Chi'i.s- 
tians, thought themselves secure of gaining the sons and grandsons of Zingis, who 
treated the rival missionaries with impartial favor. 

-■* The Germans, who exterminated \'arus and his legions, had been particular- 
ly offended with the Roman laws and lawyers. ( ne of the Barbarians, at'ler the 
effectual precautions of cutting out the tongue of an a lvocate,and sewing up his 
mouth, observed, with much satisfaction, that the viper could no longer hiss. 
Florus. iv. 12. 

"'•' Priscus, p. 59. It should seem that the Huns preferred the Gothic and 
Latia languages to their own ; which was probably a harsh and barren idiom. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIKE. 155 

service of Onegesius, one of tlie favorites of Attila, was 
employed to construct a bath ; but this woik was a rare 
example of private luxury; and the trades of the smith, the 
carpenter, the armorer, were much more adapted to supi)ly 
a wandering people with the useful instruments of peace and 
w^ar. But the merit of the physician was received witii 
universal favor and res])ect : the Barbarians, who desi)ised 
death, might be apprehensive of disease ; and the Iiaughty 
conqueror trembled in the i)resence of a captive, to whom 
he ascribed, perhaps, an imaginary power of ])rolongii)g or 
preserving his life.^*' The Iluns might be provoked to insult 
the misery of their slaves, over whom they exercised a 
despotic command ; ^^ but their manners were not suscc])- 
tible of a refined system of oppression; and the efforts of 
courage and diligence were often recompensed by tlie gift 
of freedom. The historian Priscus, whose embassy is a 
source of curious instruction, was accosted in the camp of 
Attila by a stranger, who saluted him in the Greek language, 
but wdiose dress and figure displayed the appearance of a 
W'ealthy Scythian. In the siege of Viminiacum, he had 
lost, according to his own account, his fortune and liberty ; 
he became the slave of Onegesius ; but his faithful services, 
against the Itomans and the Acatzires, had gradually raised 
him to the rank of the native Iluns ; to w^hom he was at- 
tached by the domestic pledges of a new wife and several 
chddren. The spoils of war had restored and improved 
his private property ; he was admitted to the table of 
his former lord ; and the apostate Greek blessed the hour of 
his captivity, since it had been the introduction to a hapj^y 
and independent state ; which he held by the honorably 
tenure of military service. This reflection naturally pro- 
duced a disj^ute on the advantages and defects of the Roman 
government, which was severely arraigntKl by the apostate, 
and defended by Priscus in a prolix and feeble declamation. 
The freedman of Onegesius exposed, in true and lively colors, 
the vices of a declining empire, of which he had so long been 

the victim; the cruel absurdity of the Roman .princes, 
t 

30 Philip de Comines. in liis admirable picture of the last moments of Lewis 
XI. (Memoires, 1. vi. c. 12), represents the insolence of his physician, who, in live 
months, extorted u4,000 crowns, and a rich bishopric, from the stern, avaricious 
tyrant. 

^1 Priscus (p. 61) extols the equity of the Roman laws, which protected the life 
of a slave. Occidere solent (says Tacitus of the Germans) non disciplina et 
severitate, sed impetu et ira, ut ininiicum, nisi quM impune. I)e Moribus 
Germ, c 25. The lleruli, who were the subjects of Attila, claimed, and exercised, 
the power of lite and death over their slaves. See a remarkable instance in the 
isecojid book of Agathias. 



156 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

uiiable to protect their subjects against tlie public enemy, 
unwilling to trust them with arms for tlieir own defence; 
the intolei-able weiglit of taxes, rendered still more ()j)pres- 
sive by the intricate or arbitrary modes of collection ; the 
obscurity of numerous and contradictory laws ; the tedious 
and expensive forms of judicial proceedings ; the partial 
administration of justice ; and the universal corru])tion, 
which increased the influence of the rich, and aggravated 
the misfortunes of the poor. A sentiment of patriotic 
sympathy Avas at length revived in the breast of the fortu- 
nate exile : and he lamented, with a flood of tears, the guilt 
or Aveakness of those magistrates avIio had perverted the 
wisest and most salutary institutions.^^ 

The timid or selfish policy of the Western Eomans had 
abandoned the Eastern empire to the Huns.^^ The loss of 
armies, and the Avant of discipline or virtue, Avere not sup- 
plied by the personal character of the monarch. Theodo- 
sius might still affect the style, as Avell as the title, of 
Invincible Augustus ; but he Avas reduced to solicit the 
clemency of Attila, a\ ho iiiiperiously dictated these harsh 
and luimiliating conditions of peace. I. The emjicror of 
the East resigned, by an express or tacit convention, an 
extensive and important territory, which stretched along 
the southern banks of the Danube, from Singidunum, or 
Belgrade, as far as Novos, in the diocese of Thrace. The 
breadth Avas defined by the A\ague com})utation of fifteen* 
days' journey ; but, from the proposal of Attila to remove 
the situation of the national market, it soon appeared, that 
he comprehended the ruined city of Naissus Avithin the 
•limits of his dominions. II. The king of the Huns required 
and obtained that his tribute or subsidy should be augmented 
from scA^en hundred pounds of gold to the annual sum of 
tAvo thousand on3 hundred ; and he stipulated the imme- 
diate paA'mentof six thousand pounds of gold, to defray the 
expenses, or to expiate the guilt, of the Avar. One might 
imagine, that such a demand, Avhich scarcely equalled the 
measure of i)rivate Avealth, Avould have been readily dis- 
charged by tlie opulent empire of the East ; and the ])ublic 
distj'ess affords a remarkable proof of the impoA'erislied, or 
at least of the disorderh^ state of the finances. A laroe 

32 See the whole conversation in Piiscus, pp. 59-62. 

sy Nova iternni Orienti jusnrgit riiina . . . qiuun nulla ab Oecidentalibus 
ferrentur anxilia. Prosper-Tyro composed his Chronicle in ihe West; and his 
observation implies a cemsiire. 



* Five in the las^t edition of Priscus. Niebuhr, Byz. Hist. p. 147. — M. 



OF THE ROMAX EMPIRE. 157 

proportion of the taxes extorted from tlie people was 
detained and intercepted in their passage, through tlie 
foulest channels, to the treasuiy of Constantinople. Tlie 
revenue was dissipated by Theodosius and his favorites in 
wasteful and ])rofuse luxury ; which was disguised by the 
names of Impei-ial magnificence, or Cliristian charity. Tlie 
immediate sui)]^Iies liad been exhausted by the unforeseen 
necessity of military prej^arations. A }>ersonal contribu- 
tion, rigorously, but capriciously, imposed on the members 
of the senatorial! order, was the only expedient that could 
disarm, without loss of time, the impatient avarice of Attila; 
and the poverty of the nobles compelled them to adopt the 
scandalous resource of exjiosing to public auction the jewels 
of their wives, and the hereditary ornaments of their 
palaces.^"* III. The king of the lluns appears to have 
established, as a ])rinciple of national jurisprudence, that he 
could never lose the pro})erty, which he had once accpiired, 
in the persons who had yielded either a voluntary, or 
reluctant, submission to his authority. From this j)rinciplo 
he concluded, and the conclusions of Attila were irrevocable 
laws, that the Iluns, who had been taken prisoners in war, 
sliould be released without delay, and Avithout ransom ; that 
every Roman captive, who liad presumed to escape, should 
purchase liis right to freedom at the price of twelve pieces 
of gold ; and that all the Barbarians, who liad deserted the 
standard of Attila, sliould be restored, without any promise 
or stipulation of pardon. In the execution of tliis cruel and 
ignominious treaty, the Imperial officers were forced to 
massacre several loyal and noble deserters, who refused to 
devote themselves to certain death ; and the Komans for- 
feited all reasonable claims to the friendship of any Scythian 
people, by this public confession, that they w^ere destitute 
either of faith, or power, to ])rotcct the supjjliant, who had 
embraced the throne of Tlieodosius.^^ 

The firmness of a single town, so obscure, that, except 
on this occasion, it has never been mentioned by any his- 
torian or geograjjher, exposed the disgrace of the emperor 

^^ Acconliiifr to the descrip(io:i, or rather invective, of Chrysostom, nn auction 
of Byzantine luxury must have been very productive. Every wealthy liouso 
possessed u seniieircular table of massy silver, sucli as two men could scarcely 
lift, a vase of solid gold of the weight of forty pounds, cups, dishes, of the name 
metal, »fcc. 

'■^'' The articles of the treaty, expressed without mucli order or precision, may 
be found in Priscus (pp. 31, ."5, 3t), 37, r)3, &c.) Count Marcellinus dispenses somo 
coiufort, by observinjr, 1. 77ia< Attila himself solicited the peace and presents, 
whicli lie liad fonneily refused ; and, 2dly, Tfiaf, about the same time, the am- 
bassadors of India presented a tine larj^e tame tiger to the emjjeror Theodosius. 



158 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

and empire. Azimus, or Azimuntium, a small city of 
Thrace on the Illyrian borders,^'^ liad been distinguislied by 
the martial spirit of its yoiitli, the skill and reputation of 
the leaders whom they had chosen, and their darinij^ exi)loits 
against the innumerable host of tlie Barbarians. Instead of 
tamely expecting their approach, the Azimuntines attacked, 
in frequent and successful sallies, the troops of the Huns, 
who gradually declined the dangerous neighborliood, res- 
cued from their liands the spoil and the captives, and re- 
cruited their domestic force by the voluntary association of 
fugitives and deserters. After the conclusion of the treaty, 
Attila still menaced the empire with implacable war, unless 
the Azimuntines Avere persuaded, or compelled, to comply 
Avith the conditions which their sovereign had accepted. 
The ministers of Theodosius confessed with shame, and Avith 
truth, that they no longer possessed any authority over a 
society of men, who so bravely asserted their natural inde- 
pendence; and the king of the Huns condescended to nego- 
tiate an equal exchange with the citizens of Azimus. They 
denianded the restitution of some shepherds, who, Avith their 
cattle, had been accidentally surprised. A strict, though 
fruitless, inquiry Avas allowed: but the Huns Avere obliged 
to SAvear, that they did not detain any prisoners belonging 
to the city, before they could recover two surviving coun- 
trymen, Avhom the Azimuntines had reser\e,l as pledges for 
the safety of their lost companions. Attila, on his side, was 
satisfied, and deceived, by their solemn asseveration, that 
the rest of the captives had been put to the sword ; and 
that it Avas their constant practice, immediately to dismiss 
the Romans and the deserters, Avho had obtained the secu- 
rity of the public faith. This prudent and officious dissimu- 
lation may be condemned, or excused, by the casuists, as 
they incline to the rigid decree of St. Augustin, or to the 
milder sentiment of St. Jerom and St. Chrysostom : but 
every soldier, every statesman, must acknowledge, that, if 
the race of the Azimuntines had been encouraged and mul- 
tiplied, the Barbarians Avould haA'C ceased to trample on the 
majesty of the empire. ^^ 

3^j Priscus, pp. 35, 36. Among the hundred and eightj'-two forts, or oastTes, 
of Thrace, enuuieruted by Procopius (the Kdiliciit;. 1. iv. c xi toni. ii. p. 9l', edit. 
Paris), there is one of the name of L'simoufou, whose position is doubtfully 
marked, in the neighborhood of Anehialus and the Euxine Sja. Tlie name and 
waUs of Azimuntium might subsist till the reign of Justinian ; but the race of iis 
brave defenders had been carefully extirpated by tlio jealousy of the lioman 
princes. 

"7 The peevish dispute of St. Jerom and St. Augustin, who labored, by dilter- 



OP THE ROi^IAN EMPIEE. 159 

It would have been strange, incleed, if Tlieodosius had 
purcliased, by the loss of honor, a secure and solid tran- 
quillity, or if his tameness had not invited the re])etition of 
injuries. The Byzantine court was insulted by live or six 
successive embassies ; ^^ and the ministers of Attila were 
uniformly instructed to press the tardy or imperfect execu- 
tion of the last treaty; to produce tlie names of fugitives 
and deserters, who were still protected by tlie empire ; and 
to declare, with seeming moderation, that, unless their sov- 
ereign obtained complete and immediate satisfaction, it 
would be impossible for liim, were it even liis wisli, to check 
the resentment of his warlike tribes. Besides tlie motives 
of pride and interest, which might prompt the king of the 
Huns to continue this train of negotiation, he was influenced 
by the less honorable view of enriching his favorites at the 
expense of his enemies. The Im])erial treasury was ex- 
hausted, to procure the friendly offices of the ambassadors 
and their principal attendants, whose favorable report might 
conduce to the maintenance of peace. The Barbarian mon- 
arch was flattered by the liberal reception of his ministers ; 
he computed, with pleasure, the value and splendor of 
their gifts, rigorously exacted the performance of every 
promise which would contribute to their private emolument, 
and treated as an important business of state the marriage 
of his secretary Constantius.^^ That Gallic adventurer, who 
was recommended by Aetius to the king of the Huns, had 
engaged his service to the ministers of Constantinople, for 
the stipulated reward of a wealthy and noble wife; and the 
dau2:hter of Count Saturninus was chosen to discharii-e the 
obligations of her country. The reluctance of the victim, 
some domestic troubles, and the unjust confiscation of her 
fortune, cooled the ardor of her interested lover ; but he 
still demanded, in the name of Attila, an equivalent alliance ; 
and, after many ambiguous delays and excuses, the Byzan- 
tine court was compelled to sacrifice to this insolent stranger 

eiit expedients, to reconcile the seemiyig qnnrrel of the two apostles St. Peter and 
St. Paul, depends on the solution of an important question (Middleton's Works, 
vol. ii. pp. 5-10), which has been frequently agitated by Catholic and Protestant 
divines, and even by lawyers and philosophers of every age. 

•1^ Montesquieu (Considerations sur la Grandeur, &c., c, xix.) has deMneated, 
with a bold an«l easy i)entil, some of the most striking circumstances of the >jride 
of Attila, and the disgrace of the Komans. He deserves the praise of having 
read the Fragments of Priscus, which have been too much disregarded. 

^'•»See Priscus, pp. 00, 71, 72, &c. I woiild fain believe, tliat this adventurer 
was afterwards crucilied by the order of Attila, on a suspicion of treasonable 
practices ; but Priscus (p. 57) has too plainly distinguished tico persons of the 
name of Constantius, who, froni the similar events of their lives, might have 
been easily confounded. 



160 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

the widow of Armatius, wliose birth, opulence, and beauty, 
])laced her in the most illustrious rank of the Roman ma- 
trons. For these importunate and oppressive embassies, 
Attila claimed a suitable return : he Aveighed, Avith suspicious 
pride, the character and station of tlie Imperial envoys; but 
lie condescended to promise that he would advance as far 
as Sardica to receive any ministers who had been invested 
with the consular dignity. The council of Theodosius 
eluded this proposal, by representing the desolate and 
ruined condition of Sardica, and even ventured to insinuate 
that every officer of the army or household was qualified to 
treat with the most powerful princes of Scytliia. Maxi- 
min,^** a respectable courtier, whose abilities had been long 
exercised in civil and military employments, accepted, Avith 
reluctance, the troublesome, and perhaps dangerous, com- 
mission of reconciling the angry spirit of the king of the 
Iluns. His friend, the historian Priscus,^^ embraced the 
opportunity of observing the Barbarian hero in the peaceful 
and domestic scenes of life : but the secret of the embassy, 
a fatal and guilty secret, Avas intrusted only to the interpre- 
ter Vigilius. Tlie two last ambassadors of the Iluns, Ores- 
tes, a noble subject of the Pannonian proA'ince, and Edecon, 
a valiant cliieftain of the tribe of the Scyrri, returned at 
tlie same time from Constantinople to the royal camp. 
Their obscure names Avere aftei'wards illustrated by the ex- 
traordinarv fortune and the contrast of their sons : the two 
servants of Attila became the fathers of the last Koman era- 
2)eror of the West, and of the first Barbarian king of Italy. 
The ambassadors, Avho were followed by a numerous 
train of men and horses, made their first halt at Sardica, at 
the distance of three hundred and fifty miles, or thirteen 
days' journey, from Constantinople. As the remains of 
Sardica Avere still included Avithin the limits of the em})ire, 

^'^ In the Persian treaty, concluded in the year 422, the wise and eloquent 
Maximiu had heeu the assessor of Ardaburius (Socrates, 1. vii. c. 20). AVheu 
IVrareiau asceiided the throne, the otUce of Great Chamberlain was bestowed on 
Maxiniin, who is ranked, in tlie public edict, among the four principal ministers 
of state (Novell, ad Calc, Cod. Theod. p. 31). He executed a civil and military 
commission in tlie Eastern provinces ; and his death was lamented by the 
savages of ^Ethiopia, whotie Incairsions he had repressed. See Priscus, pp. 40. 41. 

•*! Priscus was a native of Paninia in Thrace, and deserved, by his ehjqucnce, 
an honorable place among the gopliists of the age. His Byzantine Iiif^tory, wliich 
related to liis own times, was comprised in seven books. See F.ibricius, Bibliot. 
Gnec. tonj. vi. pp. 235. 2.'5G, Notwithstanding the charitable judgment of the 
criticg, I suspect that Priscus was a Pagan.* 



* Nicbuhr concurs in this opinion. Life of Priscus in the new edition of the 
Byzantine Hjstoiianfj.— ^I, 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. IGl 

it was incumbent on the Romans to exercise the duties of 
iiospitality. They provided, with the assistance of tlie pro- 
vincials, a sufficient number of sliecp and oxen, an<l invited 
tlie Huns to a splendid, or, at least, a ])lentifnl supj)er. But 
the harmony of the entertainment was soon disturbed by 
mutual prejudice and indiscretion. The gre:itness of the em- 
peror and tlie emj)ire was warmly maintained by their minis- 
ters; the Huns, with equal ardor, asserted the su])eri()rity 
of their victorious monarch: the dis])ute was infianied by 
the rash and unseasonable flattery of Vigilius, who ])assion- 
ately rejected the comparison of a mere mortal with the 
diviiHJ Theodosius; and it was witli extreme difficulty that 
Maximin and Priscus were able to divert the conversa- 
tion, or to soothe the angry minds, of the Biirbarians. 
When they rose from the table, the Imperial ambassador 
presented Edecon and Orestes with rich gifts of silk robes 
and Indian pearls, which they thankfully accepted. Yet 
Orestes could not forbear insinuatinij that he had not 
always been treated with such respect and liberality ; and 
the offensive distinction which was implied, between his 
civil office and the hereditary rank of his colleague, seems 
io have made Edecon a doubtful friend, and Orestes an 
irreconcilable enemy. After this entertainment, they trav- 
elled about one hundred miles from Sardica to Naissus. 
That flourishing city, which had given birtli to the great 
Constantine, was levelled with the ground ; the inhab- 
itants were destroyed or dispersed; and the appearance 
of some sick persons, who were still permitted to exist 
among the ruins of the churches, served only to increase the 
horror of the prospect. The surface of the country was 
covered with the bones of the slain ; and the ambassadors, 
who directed their course to the north-west, were obliged 
to pass the hills of modern Servia, before they descended 
into the flat and marshy grounds which are terminated by 
the Danube. The Huns were masters of the great river : 
their navigation was performed in large canoes, hollowed 
out of the trunk of a single tree ; the ministers of Theodo- 
sius were safely landed on the opposite bank ; and their 
Barbarian associates immediately hastened to the camp of 
Attila, which was equally prepared for the amusements of 
hunting or of war. No sooner had Maximin advanced 
about two miles * from the Danube, than he began to expe- 
rience the fastidious insolence of the conqueror. He was 

* 70 stadia. Priscus, 173,— M. 

Vol. III.— 11 



162 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

sternly forbid to pitch his tents in a pleasant valley, lest he 
should infringe the distant awe that was due to the royal 
mansion.* The ministers of Attila pressed him to commu- 
nicate the business, and the instructions, which he reserved 
for the ear of their sovereign. When Maximin temperately 
urged the contrary practice of nations, he was still more 
confounded to find that the resolutions of the Sacred Con- 
sistory, those secrets (says Priscus) which should not be re- 
vealed to the gods themselves, had been treacherously dis- 
closed to the public enemy. On his I'efusal to comply with 
such ignominious terms, the Imperial envoy was commanded 
instantly to depart ; the order was recalled ; it was again 
repeated ; and the Huns renewed their ineffectual attempts 
to subdue the patient firmness of Maximin. At length, by 
the intercession of Scotta, the brother of Onegesius, whose 
friendship had been purchased by a liberal gift, he was ad- 
mitted to the royal presence ; but, instead of obtaining a 
decisive answer, he was compelled to undertake a remote 
journey towards the north, that Attila might enjoy the 
proud satisfaction of receiving, in the same camp, the am- 
bassadors of the Eastern and Western empires. His jour- 
ney was regulated by the guides, who obliged him to halt, 
to hasten his march, or to deviate from the common road, 
as it best suited the convenience of the king. The Romans, 
who traversed the plains of Hungary, suppose that they 
passed several navigable rivers, either in canoes or portable 
boats ; but there is reason to suspect that the winding 
stream of the Teyss, or Tibiscus, might present itself in dif- 
ferent places under different names. From the contiguous 
villages they received a plentiful and regular supply of })ro- 
visions ; mead instead of wine, millet in the place of bread, 
and a certain liquor named camus, which, according to the 
report of Priscus, was distilled from barley.*^ Such fare 
might appear coarse and indelicate to men who had tasted 
the luxury of Constantinople ; but, in their accidental dis- 
tress, they were relieved by the gentleness and hospitality of 
the same Barbarians, so terrible and so merciless in war. 

^ The Huns themselves still continued to despise the labors of agriculture ; 
they abused tlie privilege of a victorious nation ; and the Goths, their industrious 
subjects, who cultivated the earth, dreaded their neighborliood, like that of so 
ina)iy ravenous wolves (Priscus, p. 45). In the same manner the Starts and 
Tadgics provide for their own subsistence, and for that of the Usbec Tartars, 
their lazy and rapacious sovereigns. See Genealogical Histoi-y of the Tartars, 
pp. 423, 455, &c. 



* He was forbidden to pitch his tents on an eminence because Attila's were 
below on the plain. Ihul. — M, 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 1G3 

The ambassadors had encamped on the edge of a large mo- 
rass. A violent tempest of wind and rain, of thunder and 
lightning, overturned their tents, immersed their baggage 
and furniture in the water, and scattered their retinue, who 
wandered in the darkness of the night, uncertain of their 
road, and apprehensive of some unknown danger, till they 
awakened by their cries the inhabitants of a neighboring 
village, the property of the widow of Bleda. A bright 
illumination, and, in a iew moments, a comfortable lire of 
reeds, was kindled by their officious benevolence ; the 
wants, and even the desires, of the Romans were liberally 
satisfied ; and they seem to have been embarrassed by the 
singular politeness of Bleda's widow, who added to her other 
favors the gift, or at least the loan, of a sufficient number 
of beautiful and obsequious damsels. The sunshine of the 
succeeding day was dedicated to repose, to collect and dry 
the baggage, and to the refreshment of the men and horses; 
but, in the evening, before they pursued their journey, the 
ambassadors expressed their gratitude to the bounteous 
lady of the village, by a very acceptable present of silver 
cups, red fleeces, dried fruits, and Indian pepper. Soon 
after this adventure, they rejoined the march of Attila, 
from whom they had been separated about six days, and 
slowly proceeded to the capital of an empire, which did 
not contain, in the space of several thousand miles, a single 
city. 

As far as we may ascertain the vague and obscure geog- 
raphy of Priscus, this capital appears to have been seated 
between the Danube, the Teyss, and the Carpathian hills, 
in the plains of Upper Hungary, and most probably in the 
neighborhood of Jezberin, Agria, or Tokay.'^^ In its origin 

*3 It is evident that Priscus passed the Danube and the Teyss, and that he did 
not reach the foot of the Caipathian hills. Agria, Tokay, and Jazberin, are 
situated in the plains circumscribed by this definition. M. de Buat (Histoire des 
Peuples, &c., toni. vii- p. 401) has chosen Tokay ; Otrokosci (p. 180. apud Mascou, 
ix. 23), a learned Hungarian, lias preferred Jazberin, a place about thirty-six 
miles westward of Buda and the Danube.* 



» M. St. Martin considers the narrative of Priscus, the only authority of M. de 
Buat and of Gibbon, too vague to lix the position of Attila's camp. " It is worthy 
of remark, that in the Hungarian traditions collected by Thevrocz, 1. 2, c. IG, pre- 
cisely on the left branch of the Danube, where Attila's residence was situated, 
in the same parallel stands the present city of Buda. in Hungarian Buduvur. It 
is for this reason that this city has retained for a long time among the Germans 
of Hungary the name of Etzelnburgh or Etzela-burgh, i. c, the city of Attila. 
The distance of Buda from the i)la('e where Priscus crossed the Danube, on his 
way from Naissus, is equal to that which he traversed to reach the residence of 
the king of the Huns. I see no good reason for not acceding to the relations of 
the Hungarian historians. St- Martin, vi. 191.— M. 



164 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

it could be no more than an accidental camp, which, by the 
long and frequent residence of Attila, had insensibly swelled 
into a huge village, for the reception of liis court, of the 
troops who followed his person, and of the various multi- 
tude of idle or industrious slaves and retainers. ^^ The baths, 
constructed by Onegesius, were the only edifice of stone ; 
the materials had been transported from Pannonia; and 
since the adjacent country was destitute even of large tim- 
ber, it may be presumed, that the meaner habitations of 
the royal village consisted of straw, or mud, oc of canvas. 
The wooden houses of the more ilhistrious Huns were built 
and adorned Avith rude magnificence, according to the rank, 
the fortune, or the taste of the proprietors. They seemed 
to have been distributed Avith some degree of order and 
symmetry; and each spot became more honorable as it ap- 
proached the person of the sovereign. The palace of Attila, 
which surpassed all other houses in his dominions, was built 
entirely of wood, and covered an ample space of ground. 
The outward enclosure was a lofty wall, or palisade, of 
smooth square timber, intersected with high towers, but in- 
tended rather for ornament than defence. This wall, which 
seems to have encircled the declivity of ' a hill, compre- 
hended a great variety of wooden edifices, adapted to the 
uses of royalty. A separate house was assigned to each of 
the numerous wives of Attila ; and, instead of tlie rigid and 
illiberal confinement imposed by Asiatic jealousy, they po- 
litely admitted the Roman ambassadors to their presence, 
their table, and even to the freedom of an innocent em- 
brace. When Maximin offered his presents to Cerca,* the 
principal queen, he admired the singular architecture of her 
mansion, the height of the round columns, the size and 
beauty of the wood, which was curiously shaped or turned, 
or polished or carved ; and his attentive eye was able to 
discover some taste in the ornaments and some regularity 
in the proportions. After passing through the guards, who 
watched before the gate, the ambassadors were introduced 

^ The royal \ il age of Attila may be compared to the citj' of Karacorum, the 
residence of the successors of Zingis ; which, though it appears to have been a 
more stable habitation, did not equal the size or spleiidor of the town and abbey 
of St. Denys, in the 13th century. (See Rubruquis, in the Histoire Generale iles 
Voyages, torn. vii. p. 286.) The camp of Auiengzebe, as it is so atrreeablv de- 
scribed by Bernier (tom. ii. pp. 217-2.35), blended the manners of Scythiawith the 
magnificence and luxury of Hindostan. 



" The name of this queen occurs three times in Priscus, and always in a dif- 
ferent form — Cerca, Creca, and Rheca. Tbe .Scamlinaviaii poets have preserved 
her memory under the name of Herkia. St. ^lartin, vi. 192.— M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 165 

into the private apartment of Cerca. Tlie wife of Attila 
received their visit sitting, or rather lying, on a soft couch ; 
the floor was covered with a carpet ; the domestics formed 
a circle round the queen ; and her damsels, seated on the 
ground, were employed in working the variegated embroid- 
ery which adorned the dress of the Barbaric warriors. 
The Huns were ambitious of displaying those riches which 
were the fruit and evidence of their victories ; the trap- 
pings of their horses, their swords, and even tlieir shoes, 
were studded with gold and precious stones ; and their 
tables were profusely spread with j)lates, and goblets, and 
vases of gold and silver, which had been fashioned by the 
labor of Grecian artists. The monarch alone assumed the 
superior pride of still adhering to the simplicity of liis 
Scythian ancestors.''^ The dress of Attila, his .^.rms, and 
the furniture of his horse, were ]>lain, without ornament, 
and of a single color. The royal table was served in 
wooden cups and jdatters ; flesh was his only food ; and 
the conqueror of the North never tasted the luxury of 
bread. 

When Attila first gave audience to the Roman ambassa- 
dors on the banks of the Danube, his tent was encompassed 
with a formidable s^uard. The monarch himself was seated 
in a wooden chair. His stern countenance, angry gestures, 
and impatient tone, astonished the firmness of IVlaximin ; 
but Vigilius had more reason to tremble, since he distinctly 
understood the menace, that if Attila did not res])ect the 
law of hations, he would nail the deceitful interpreter to 
the cross, and leave his body to the vultures. The Bar- 
barian condescended, by producing an accurate list, to ex- 
pose the bold falsehood of Vigilius, who had aflirmed that 
no more than seventeen deserters could be found. But lie 
arrogantly declared, that he apprehended only the disgrace 
of contending with his fugitive slaves; since he despised 
their impotent efforts to defend the provinces which Tlieo- 
dosius had intrusted to their arms: " For what fortress " 
(added Attila), "what city, in the wide extent of the Roman 
empire, can hope to exist, secure and impregnable, if it is 
our pleasure that it should be erased from the earth ?" He 
dismissed, however, the interpreter, who returned to Con- 
stantinople with his peremptory demand of more complete 

45 When the Moguls displayed the spoils of Asia, in the diet of Toncat. the 
throne of Zingis was still covered with the original black felt c:n jjet on wliich he 
had been seate<l, when he was raised to the command of his warlike countiymen. 
See Vie de Gengiscan, 1. iv. c. 9. 



166 THE DECLINE AI^TD FALL 

restitution, and a more splendid embassy. His anger gradu- 
ally subsided, and his domestic satisfaction in a marringe 
wliich he celebrated on the road with the daugliter of 
Eslam,"* might perhaps contribute to mollify the native 
fierceness of his temper. The entrance of Attila into the 
royal village was marked by a very singular ceremony. A 
numerous troop of women came out to meet their hero and 
their king. They marched before him, distributed into long 
and regular files ; the intervals between the files were filled 
by white veils of thin linen, which the women on either 
side bore aloft in their hands, and which formed a canopy 
for a chorus of young virgins, who chanted hymns and songs 
in the Scythian language. The wife of his favorite Onege- 
sius, with a train of female attendants, saluted Attila at the 
door of her own house, on his way to the palace ; and of- 
fered, according to the custom of the country, her respectful 
homage, by entreating him to taste the wine and meat which 
she had prepared for his recej^tion. As soon as the monarch 
had graciously accepted her hospitable gift, his domestics 
lifted a small silver table to a convenient height, as he sat 
on horseback; and Attila, when he had touched the goblet 
with his lips, again saluted the wife of Onegesius, and con- 
tinued Ills march. During his residence at the seat of em- 
pire, his hours were not wasted in the recluse idleness of a 
seraglio ; and the king of the Huns could maintain his su- 
perior dignity, without concealing his person from the public 
view. He frequently assembled his council, and gave au- 
dience to the ambassadors of the nations ; and his people 
might appeal to the supreme tribunal, which he lield at 
stated times, and, according to the Eastern custom, before 
the principal gate of liis wooden palace. The Romans, 
both of the East and of the West, were twice invited to 
the banquets, where Attila feasted with the princes and 
nobles of Scythia. Maximin and his colleagues were 
stopped on the threshold, till they liad made a devout liba- 
tion to the health and prosperity of the king of the Huns ; 

* Escam — ei' 77 yafxeiv Ovyarepa 'E<rKa,u eSovAero, TrXeiVra? fxeu c^wi' yafiera.^, 
ay6ixei>o<; 6e KaC ravTr}v Kara voixov Tou'S.KvQiKoy. Was this his own tlaU'jjliter, or the 
d:iughter of a person named Escam? (Gibbon has written incorrectly Eslam, au 
unknown namo. The otiicer of Attila, called Eslas, is spelt Ho-Aa?). In either 
case the construction is imperfect : a good Greek writer, would liave introduced 
an article to detGrinine the sense, either r'-qy avrov Gvydrtpx, ov r'riv tou 'E<7/ca/iA 
evyxrepi. Nor is it quite clear, whether Scythian usage is adiluced to excuse tli3 
polvgamy, or a tnarriage, which would be considered incestuous in other conn- 
tries. The Latin version has carefully preserved the ambiguity, filiam Escam 
uxorem, I am not inclined to construe it * his own daughter,' thongh I have 
too little confidence in the nniformity of the grammatical idioms of the Byzan- 
tiues (though Priscus is one of the best) to express myself without hesitation.'— ^I. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 167 

and were conrliictcd, after tliis ceremony, to their res])ective 
seats in a spacious liall. The royal tabic and concli, covered 
witli carpets and line linen, was raised by several ste2:>s in the 
niidst of the hall ; and a son, an uncle, or perhaps a favor- 
ite king, were admitted to share the simple and homely re- 
past of Attila. Two lines of small tables, each of which 
contained three or four guests, were ranged in order on 
cither hand ; the right was esteemed the most honorable, 
but the Romans ingenuously confess, that they were placed 
on the left ; and that Beric, an unknown chieftain, most 
probably of the Gothic race, preceded the representatives of 
Theodosius and Yalentinian. The Barbarian monarch re- 
ceived from liis cup-bearer a goblet filled with wine, and 
courteously drank to the health of the most distinguished 
guest ; who rose from his seat, and expressed, in tlie same 
manner, his loj^al and respectful vows. This ceremony was 
successively performed, for all, or at least for the illustrious 
persons of the assembly ; and a considerable time must 
have been consumed, since it was thrice repeated as each 
course or service was placed on the table. But the wine 
still remained after the meat had been removed ; and the 
ITuns continued to indulge their intemperance long after the 
sober and decent ambassadors of the two emj^ires had with- 
drawn themselves from the nocturnal banquet. Yet before 
they retired, they enjoyed a singular opportunity of observ- 
ing the manners of the nation in their convivial amusements. 
Two Scythians stood before the couch of Attila, and recited 
the verses which they had com])osed, to celebrate his valor 
and his victories.* A j^rofound silence jjrevailed in the hall ; 

* This passage is remarkable from the connection of the name of Attila with 
that extraonlinary cycle of poetry, which is found in diffen^nt forms in almost 
all the Teutonic languages. A Lai in poem, de prima expeditione AttiiiB, Regis 
Hunnoriim, in Gallias, was published in the year 1780, by Fischer at Leipsic. It 
contains, witli the continuation, 14.')2 lines, it abounds iu metrical faults, but is 
occasionally not without Some rude spirit and some copiousness of fancy in the 
variation of the circumstances in the dilferent combats of the hero Walther, 

f);-ince of Aquitania. It contains little which can be supposed historical, and still 
ess which is characteristic concerning Attila. It relates to a first expedition of 
Attila into Gaul, which cannot be traced in history, during which the kings of the 
Franks, of the Burguudians, and of Aquitaine, submit themselves, and give ho - 
tages to Attila: the king of the Franks, a personage who seems the same with 
Hagan of Teutonic Romance ; the king of Burgundy, his daughter, Heldgund, the 
king of Aquitaine, his son Walther. The main subject of the poem is the escape 
of Walther and Heldgund from the camp of Attila, and the combat between 
Walther and Gunthar, king of the Fianks, with his twelve peers, among whom is 
Ilagen. Walther liad been betrayed while he passed through Worms, tbe city 
of the Frankish king, by paying for his ferry over tbe Ilbine with some strange 
fish, which he had caught during his flight, and wliich were unknown iu tlie 
waters of the Rhine. Gunthar was desirous of plundering him of the treasure, 
which Walther had carried off from the Camp of Attila, Tbe author of this 
poem is unknown, nor can I, on the vague and ratber doubtful allnsion to Thxile, 
as Iceland, venture to assign its date. It was, evidently, recited iu a monastery, 



1G8 THE DECLIIS^E AXD FALI, 

and the attention of tlie guests was captivated by the vocal 
harmony, whiclj revived and perpetuated the memor}' of 
their own exploits ; a martial ardor flashed from the eyes of 
the warriors, wdio were imj^atient for battle ; and the'tears 
of the old men expressed their generous despair, that they 
could no longer partake the danger and glory of tlie 
field.^® This entertainment, which might be considered as 
:i school of military virtue, was succeeded by a farce, that 
debased the dignity of human nature. A Moorish and a 
Scythian buffoon * successively excited the mirth of the rude 
spectators, by their deformed figure, ridiculous dress, antic 
gestures, absurd speeches, and the strange, unintelligible 
confusion of the Latin, tlie Gothic, and the ITunnic lan- 
guages ; and tlie hall resounded with loud and licentious 
])ea]s of laughter. In the midst of this intemperate riot, 
AttJla alone, without a change of countenance, maintained 
his steadfast and inflexible gravity ; which was never relaxed, 

•*" If we may believe Plutarch (in Demetrio, torn. v. p. 24), it was the enstom 
of the Scytliians,when they imlulged in the pleasure* of the table, to awaken their 
languid courage by the martial harmony of t\vai>ging their bow-strings. 



as appears by the first line , and no doubt composed there. The faults of metre 
would point out a late date ; and it may have b* en formed upon some local tradi- 
tion, as Walther, the hero, f;eems to have turned monk. 

This poem, however, in its tharacter and its incidents, bea's no relation to the 
Teutonic cycle, of which the Nibelungen Lied .^s the most complete form. In this, 
in the Heldenbuch, in some of the Danish Sagas, in countless lays and ballads in 
all the dialects of Scandinavia, appears King Etzel (Attila) in strife witli the 
Burgundians and the Franks. With tliese appears, ]»y a poetic anachronisni, 
Dietrich of Berne (Theodoric of Verona), the celebrated Ostrogothic king: and 
jnany other very singular coincidences of historic names, which reappear in the 
j>oems. (See Lachinan, Kritik der Sage in his volume of various readings to the 
Nibelungen ; Be:-lin. 1^36, p. .'?3G.) 

1 must acknowledge myself unable to form any satisfactory theory as to the 
connection of these poems with the history of the time, or theperiod, from which 
they n»ay date their oriijin ; notwithstanding the laborious investigations and 
critical sagacity of the .Schlegels, the Grimms, of i*. ¥.. ]\Ixiller and Lachman, and 
a whole host of German critics and antiquaries , not to omit our own countiyman 
Mr. Herbert, whose theory concerning Attila is certainly neither deficient in 
boldness nor ori'^inality. I conceive the only May to obtain anything like a char 
«-X)nception <m this point would be what Lachman has begun (see above), patiently 
to collect and compare the various forms which the traditions have assumed, 
without any preconceived, either mythical or poetical, theory, and. if possible, to 
discover the ori'jinal basis of the whole rich and fimtastic legend. One point, 
which tome is stronglv in favor of the antiquity of this i>oetic cycle, is. that the 
manners are so clearly anterior to chivalry, and to the influence exercised on the 
f)oeticliterature of Europe by the chivnlrous poems find romances. I think I 
find some traces of that influence in the Latin poem, though strained through the 
imae:ination of a monk. 

The English reader will find an amusing account of the German NilieTungen 
and Heldenbuch, and of some of the Scandinavian Sagas, in the volume of 
"Northern Antiquities published by Weber, the friend of Sir Walter Scott. Scott 
himself contributed a considerable, no doubt far the most valuable, pnit.to the 
work. See also the various German editions of the Nibelungen, to which La( h- 
man, Avith true German i)erseverance. has compiled a thick volume of various 
readings; the Heldenbuch, the old Danish poems by Grimm, the Eddas, &c. 
Jierbert's Attila, p. 510, et seq.— M, 

* The Scythian was an idiot or lunatic ; the Moor a regular buffoou.— M. 



OF THE KOMAX EMPIKE. 169 

except on the entrance of Irnac, the youngest of his sons : 
he embraced the boy with a smile of paternal tenderness, 
gently pinched him by the cheek, and betrayed a partial af- 
fection, which was justified by the assurance of his prophets, 
that Irnac would be the future support of his family and 
empire. Two days afterwards, the ambassadors received a 
second invitation : and they had reason to })raise the jH)litc- 
ness, as well as the hospitality, of Attiia. The king of the 
lluns held a long and familiar conversation with Maximin ; 
but his civility was interrupted by rude expressions and 
haughty reproaches ; and he was provoked, by a motive of 
interest, to support, with unbecoming zeal, the private 
claims of his secretary Constantius. ''The emperor" (said 
Attiia), "has long promised him a rich wife : Constantius 
must not be disap])oiuted ; nor should a Roman emperor 
deserve the name of liar." On the third day, the ambassa- 
dors were dismissed : the freedom of several captives was 
granted, for a moderate ransom, to their pressing entreaties ; 
and, besid&s the royal presents, they were permitted to ac- 
cept from each of the Scythian nobles the honorable and 
useful gift of a horse. Maximin returned, by the same road, 
to Constantinople ; and though he was involved in an acci- 
dental dispute with Beric, tlje new ambassador of Attiia, he 
flattered himself that he had contributed, by the laborious 
journey, to confirm the peace and alliance of the two na- 
tions.''^ 

But the Roman ambassador was ignorant of tlie treach- 
erous design, which had been concealed under the mask of 
the public faith. The surprise and satisfaction of Edecon, 
when he contemplated the splendor of Constantinople, had 
encouraged the interpreter Vigilius to procure for him a 
secret interview with the eunuch Chrysaphius,'*^ who gov- 
erned the emperor and the empire. After some previous 
conversation, and a mutual oath of secrecy, the eunuch, who 
had not, from ids own feelings or exj)erience, imbibed any 
exalted notions of ministerial virtue, ventured to propose 
the death of Attiia, as an important service, by which Ede- 

*'' The curious narrative of this embassy, which required fewobsei-valions.aiid 
was not sii.sce[)til>lt! of any collateral evidence, may be found in Pviscus, pp 4i»- 
70. But I h'ive not conlined myself to the sam'3 order; and I had previously ex 
tracted the historical circumstances, which were less intimately connected with 
the journey, and busiiiess. of the Roman ambassadors. 

•"• M. de Tillemont has very properly given the succession of chamberlains, 
wlio reiLjnod iu the name of Theotlosius. Chrysaphiiis v/as the last, aiul, accord- 
ing to tile unanimous evid';nce of history, the worst of these favorites (seo Hist, 
des EmpM-eurs, torn, vi. pp. 117-11!). Mem. Kccles. torn. xv. [). l-'iS). His partial- 
ity for his go<U'ather, the hercsiarch Eutyches, engaged him to persecute t^kQ 
orthodox jjarty. 



170 THE DECLIXE AND FALL 

con miorlit deserve a liberal share of the wealth and luxury 
which he admired. The ambassador of the Huns listened 
to the tempting offer ; and professed, with apparent zeal, 
his ability, as well as readiness, to execute the bloody deed ; 
the design was communicated to the master of the offices, 
and the devout Theodosius consented to the assassination of 
his invincible enemy. But this perfidious conspiracy was 
defeated by the dissimulation, or the repentance, of Edecon ; 
and thouQ-h he mi2:ht exa^jxerate his inward abhorrence for 
the treason, which he seemed to approve, he dexterously 
assumed the merit of an early and voluntary confession. 
If we 710W review the embasssy of Maximin, and the be- 
havior of Attila, we must applaud the Barbarian, who 
respected the laws of hospitality, and generously entertained 
and dismissed the minister of a prince who had conspired 
against his life. But the rashness of Vigilius will appear 
still more extraordinary, since he returned, conscious of his 
guilt and danger, to the royal camp, accompanied by his 
son, and carrying with him a weighty purse of gold, which 
the favorite eunuch had furnished, to satisfy the demands 
of Edecon, and to corrupt the fidelity of the guards. The 
inter])reter was instantly seized, and dragged before the 
tribunal of Attila, where he asserted his innocence with 
specious firmness, till the threat of inflicting instant death 
on his son extorted from him a sincere discovery of the 
criminal transaction. Under the name of ransom, or confis- 
cation, the rapacious king of the Huns accepted two hun- 
dred pounds of gold for the life of a traitor, whom he dis- 
dained to punish. He pointed his just indignation against 
a nobler object. His ambassadors, Eslaw and Orestes, were 
immediately despatched to Constantinople, with a peremp- 
tory instruction, which it was much safer for them to exe- 
cute than to disobey. They boldly entered the Imperial 
presence, with the fatal purse hanging down from the neck 
of Orestes ; who interrogated the eunuch Chrysaphius, as 
he stood beside the throne, whether he recognized the evi- 
dence of his guilt. But the office of reproof Avas reserved 
for the superior dignity of his colleague, Eslaw, who grave- 
ly addressed the emperor of the East in the following 
words : "Theodosius is the son of an illustrious and respect- 
able parent ; Attila likewise is descended from a noble 
race ; and he has supported, by his actions, the dignity 
which he inherited from his father Mundzuk. But Theo- 
dosius has forfeited his paternal honors, and, by consenting 
to jjay tribute, has degraded himself to the condition of a 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 171 

slave. It is therefore just, that lie slionld reverence the man 
whoni fortune and merit have jjlaced above him: instead of 
attempting, like a wicked slave, clandestinely to conspire 
against his master." The son of Arcadius, who was accus- 
tomed only to the voice of flattery, heard with astonishment 
the severe language of truth : he blushed and trembled, nor 
did he presume directly to refuse the head of Chrysaphius, 
which Eslaw and Orestes were instructed to demand. A 
solemn embassy, armed with full powers and magnificent 
gifts, was hastily sent to deprecate the wrath of Attila ; and 
his pride was gratified by the choice of Nomius and Ana- 
tolius, two ministers of consular or patrician rank, of whom 
the one was great treasurer, and the othei- was master-gen- 
eral of the armies of the East. He condescended to meet 
these ambassadors on the banks of the River Drenco ; and 
though he at first affected a stern and haughty demeanor, 
his anger was insensibly mollified by their eloquence and 
liberality, He condescended to pardon the emperor, the 
eunuch, and the interpreter ; bound himself by an oath to 
observe the conditions of peace ; released a great number 
of captives ; abandoned the fugitives and deserters to their 
fate ,' and resigned a large territory, to the south of the 
Danube, which he had already exhausted of its wealth and 
fnhabitants. But this treaty was purchased at an expense 
which might have supported a vigorous and successful war: 
and the subjects of Theodosius were compelled to redeem 
the safety of a worthless favorite by o])pressive taxes, 
which they would more cheerfully have paid for his de- 
struction.*^ 

The emperor Theodosius did not long survive the most 
humiliating circumstance of an inglorious life. As he was 
riding, or hunting, in the neighborhood of Constantinople, 
he was thrown from his horse into the River tf^ycus : the 
epine of the back was injured by the fall ; and he exjured 
some days afterwards, in the fiftieth year of his age, and the 
forty-third of his reign.^ His sister Pulcheria, whose au- 
thority had been controlled both in civil and ecclesiastical 
affairs by the pernicious influence of the eunuchs, was unani- 
mously proclaimed Empress of the East ; and the Romans, 

*^ This secret conspirncy. ami its important consequences, may be traced in 
the fragments of Prisons, pp. 37, 38. 39, 54. 70, 71, 72, Tlie chronolofry of-tliat liis- 
torian is not fixed by any precise date ; but tlie series of negotiations between 
Attila and tbe P^astern empire must be include<l within the three or four years 
whicli are terndnated, A. 1>. 450, by the death of Theodosius. 

S" Tlieodorus the Reader (see Vales. Hist. Eccles. torn. iii. p. 563) and the 
Paschal Chronicle, mention tlie fall, without specifying the injury : but the con- 
Bequence was so likely to happen, and so unlikely lo be invented, that we may 
safely give credit to Nicephorus Callistus, a Greek of the fourteenth century. 



51 



172 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

for tlie first time, submitted to a female reign. No sooner 
had Pulcheria ascended the throne, than she indulged her 
own and the public resentment, by an act of popular justice. 
Without any legal trial, the eunucli Chrysaphius was exe- 
cuted before the gates of tlie city; and the immense riches 
which had been accumulated by the rapacious favorite, 
served only to hasten and to justify his punishment. 
Amidst the general acclamations of the clergy and people, 
the empress did not forget the prejudice and disadvantage 
to which her sex Avas exposed; and she wisely resolved to 
prevent their murmurs by the choice of a colleague, who 
Avould always respect the superior rank and virgin chastity 
ot liis wife. She gave her hand to Marcian, a senator, about 
sixty years of age ; and the nominal husband of Pulcheria 
Avas solemnly invested with the Imperial purple. The zeal 
Avhich he displayed for the orthodox creed, as it was estab- 
lished by the council of Chalcedon, woidd alone have in- 
spired the grateful eloquence of the Catljolics. But the be- 
havior of Marcian in a private Jife, and afterwards on the 
throne, may support a more rational belief, that he was 
qualified to restore and invigorate an empire, which luid 
been almost dissolved by the successive weakness of two 
hereditary monarchs. He was born in Thrace, and educa- 
ted to the profession of arms ; but Marcian's youth had been 
severely exercised by poverty and misfortune, since his only 
resource, when he first arrived at Constantinople, consisted 
in two hundred pieces of gold, which he had borrowed of a 
friend. He passed nineteen years in the domestic and mili- 
tary service of Aspar, and his son Ardaburius ; followed 
those powerful generals to the Persian and African wars ; 
and obtained, by their influence, the honorable rank of tri- 
bune and senator. His mild disposition, and useful talents, 
without ala»*ming the jealousy, recommended Marcian to 
the esteem and favor of his patrons ; he had seen, perlia])s 
lie had felt, the abuses of a venal and oppressive adminis- 
tration ; and his own example gave weight and enei-oy to 
the laws, which he promulgated »for the reformation of 
nianners.^^ 

01 Pulcherife nutft (says Count Marcellinus) sua cum avaritia interemptus est. 
She abandoned the eunuch to ihe pious revenge of a son, whose father had suf- 
fered at his instigation.* 

^- Frocopius, do BeU. Vandal. 1. i. c. 4. Evagrius, 1. ii. c. 1. Theophanes, pp. 
yo, 91. Novell, ad Calcem. Cod- Theod. torn. vi. p. 30. The praises whith St. 
Leo and the Catholics have bestowed on ]\Iarcian, are diligently transcribed by 
Baronias, as an eucouragement for future princes. 



* Might not the execution of Chrysaphius have been a sacrifice to avert tlie 
aiiger of Attila, whose assassination the eunucli had attempted to contrive?— M. 



OF THE EOMAX EMPIRE. 173 



CHAPTER XXXV. 

INVASION OF GAUL BY ATTILA. HE IS REPULSED BY AETIUS 

AND THE VISIGOTHS. — ATTILA INVADES AND EVACUATES 

ITALY. THE DEATHS OF ATTILA, AETIUS, AND VALENTI- 

NIAN THE THIRD. 

It was tlie opinion of Marcian, that war should be 
avoided, as long as it is possible to preserve a secure and 
lionorable peace ; but it was likewise his oj)inion, that peace 
cannot be honorable or secure, if the sovereign betrays a 
])usillanimous aversion to war. This temperate courage 
dictated his reply to the demands of Attila, who insolently 
pressed the ])ayment of the annual tribute. The emperor 
signified to the Barbarians, that they must no longer insult 
the majesty of Rome by the mention of a tribute; that he 
was disjVosed to reward, with becoming liberality, the faith- 
ful fi'iendship of his allies ; but that, if they presumed to 
violate the public peace, they should feel that he possessed 
troops, and arms, and resolution, to repel their attacks. The 
same language, even in the camp of the Huns, was used by 
his ambassador Apollonius, whose bold refusal to deliver 
the presents, till he had been admitted to a personal inter- 
view, displayed a sense of dignity, and a contempt of 
danger, Avhich Attila was not prepared to expect from the 
degenerate Romans.^ He threatened to chastise the rash 
successor of Theorlosius ; but he hesitated whether he 
should first direct his invincible arms against the Eastern 
or the Western empire. While mankind awaited his 
decision with awful suspense, he sent an equal defiance to 
the courts of Ravenna and Constantinople; and his minis- 
ters saluted the two emperors with the same haughty de- 
claration. "Attila, my lord, and thy lord, commands thee 
to provide a palace for his immediate reception."^ But as 
the Barbarian despised, or affected to despise, the Romans 
of the East, whom he had so often vanquished, he soon 
declared his resolution of suspending the easy conquest, till 

- See Priscus, pp. 39, 72. 

2 The Alexandrian or Paschal Chronicle, which introduces this haughty mes- 
sage, during the lifetime of Theodi)!>ius, may have anticiputi-'d the date ; but the 
dull anualibt was incapable of inventing the original and genuine style of Attila. 



174 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

he had achieved a more glorious and important enterprise. 
In the memorable invasions of Gaul and Italy, the Huns 
were naturally attracted by the wealth and fertility of those 
provinces ; but the particular motives and provocations of 
Attila can only be explained by the state of the Western 
empire under the reign of Valentinian, or, to speak more 
correctly, under the administration of Aetius.^ 

After the death of his rival Boniface, Aetius had pru- 
dently retired to the tents of the Huns ; and lie was indebted 
to their alliance for his safety and his restoration. Instead 
of the suppliant language of a guilty exile, he solicited his 
pardon at the head of sixty thousand Barbarians ; and the 
empress Placidia confessed, by a feeble resistance, that the 
condescension, which migiit have been ascribed to clemency, 
was the effect of weakness or fear. She delivered herself, 
her son Valentinian, and the Western empire, into the 
hands of an insolent subject; nor could Placidia protect the 
son-in-law of Boniface, the virtuous and faithful Sebastian,* 
from the implacable persecution, which urged him from one 
kingdom to another, till he miserably perished in the ser- 
vice of the Vandals. The fortunate Aetius, who was im- 
mediately promoted to the rank of patrician, and thrice 
invested Avith the honors of the consulship, assumed, with 
the title of master of the cavalry and infantry, the whole 
military power of the state ; and he is sometimes styled, by 
contemporary writers, the duke, or general, of the Romans 
of the West. His prudence, rather than his virtue, engaged 
him to leave the grandson of Theodosius in the possession 
of the purple ; and Valentinian was permitted to enjoy the 
peace and luxury of Italy, while the patrician appeared in 
the glorious light of a hero and a patriot, who supported 
near twenty years the ruins of the Western empire. The 
Gothic historian ingenuously confesses, that Aetius was 
born for the salvation of the Koman republic ; '' and the fol- 

3 The second book of the Histoire Critique de I'Etablissemeiit de la Moiiarchie 
Eraiiyoise, lom. i. pp. 189-424, throws great light on the state of Gaul, when it 
wa3 invaded by Attila ; but the ingenious author, and Abbe Dubos, too often 
bewilders himself in system and conjecture, 

•* Victor Vitensis (de Persecut. Vandal. 1. i. 6, p. 8, edit. Ruinart) calls him, 
acer consilio et strenuus in bello : but his courage, when he became unfortunate, 
was censured as desperate rashness ; and Sebastian deserved, or obtained, the 
epithet of ^^rrecfjDs (Sidoii. ApolUnar. Carmen ix. 181.) His adventures in Cou- 
Btantinople, in Sicily, Gaul, Spain, and Africa, are faintly marked in the Chron- 
icles of Marcellinus and Jaatius. In his distress, he was always followed by a 
numerous train ; since he could ravage the Hellespont and Propoiitis, and seize 
the city of Barcelona. 

5 Keipublicse Komanaj singulariter natus, qui superbiam Suevorum, Franco- 
rumque barbariem immensis caidibus servire Imperio liomano coegissct. Jor- 
naudes de Rebus Geticis, c. 34, p. 660. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 175 

loAving portrait, though it is drawn in tlie fairest colors, 
must be allowed to contain a much larger proportion of 
truth than of flattery.* *' His mother was a wealthy and 
noble Italian, and his father Gaudentius, who held a dis- 
thiguished rank in the province of Scythia, gradually rose 
from the station of a military domestic, to the dignity of 
master of the cavalry. Their son, who was enrolled almost 
in his infancy in the guards, was given as a hostage, first to 
Alaric, and afterwards to the Iluns ; f and he successively 
obtained the civil and military honors of the palace, for 
Avhich he was equally qualified by superior merit. The 
graceful figure of Aetius was not above the middle stature; 
but his manly limbs were admirably formed for strength, 
beauty, and agility ; and he excelled in the martial exer- 
cises of managing a horse, drawing the bow, and darting 
the javelin, lie could patiently endure the want of food, 
or of sleep ; and his mind and body were alike capable of 
the most laborious efforts. He possessed the genuine cour- 
age that can despise not only dangers, but injuries: and it 
was impossible either to corrupt, or deceive, or intimidate 

* Some valuable fragments of a poetical panegyric on Aetius by Merobaudes, a 
Spaniard, liavebeen recovered from a palimpsest MS. by the sagacity and indus- 
try of Niebuhr. They have been reprinted in the new edition of Byzantine Uis- 
toiians. The poet speaks in glowing terms of the long (annosa) peace enjoyed 
under the administration of Aetius. The verses are very spirited. The poet was 
rewarded by a statue publicly dedicated to his honor in Rome, 

Danuvii cum pace redit, Tanaimqne furore 
Exuit, et nigro candentes ajtliere ten as 
Marte suo caruisse jubet. Dedit otia ferro 
Caucasus, et s evi condemnant pnelia reges. 
Addidit hiberni famulantia fcedera Rhenus 
Orbis ***** 

Lustrat Aremoricos jam mitior incola saltus ; 
Perdidit et mores tellus, adsuetaque saevo 
Crimine quajsitas silvis celare rapinas, 
Discit inexpertis Cererem committere campis ; 
Caesareoque diu manus oMuciata labori 
Sustinet acceptas nostro sub consule leges ; 
Et quanivis Geticis sulcum confundat aratris, 
Barbara viciuie ref ugit consortia gentis. 
, Merobaudes, p. 11.— M. 

— cum Scythicis succnmberet ensibus orbis, 
Telaque Tarpeias pretnerent Arctoa secures, 
Hostilem f regit rabiem. pignusque superbi 
Foederis et mundi pretium fuit. Hinc modo voti 
Rata lides, validis quod dux i)remat impiger armis 
Edomuit quos pace puer ; bellumque repressit 
Igiiarus quid bella forent. SLupuere feroces 
In tenero jam membra Getae. Rex ipse, verendum 
Miratus pueri decus et prodentia fatum 
Lumina, priniaivaa dederat gestare faretras, 
Laudabatque maims Hbrantem et tela gerentem 
Oblitus quod noster erat. Pro nescia regis 
Corda. feris qnanto popiilis discrimine constet 
Quod Latium docet arma ducem. 

Merobaudes, Pauegyr. p. 15.— M. 



176 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

the firm integrity of his soul."^ Tlie Barbarians, M'ho had 
seated themselves in the Western provinees, M-ere insen- 
sibly tauo-ht to respeet the faith and valor of the ])atrieian 
Aetius. lie soothed their passions, consulted their preju- 
dices, balanced their interests, and checked their ambition.'*' 
A seasonable treaty, which he conchicled with Genseric, 
protected Italy from the depredations of the Vandals ; the 
independent Britons implored and acknowledged his salu- 
tary aid ; the Imperial authority was restored and main- 
tained in Gaul and Spain ; and he compelled the Franks 
and the Suevi, whom he had vanquished in the field, to 
become the useful confederates of the republic. 

From a principle of interest, as well as gratitude, Aetius 
assiduously cultivated the alliance of the Huns. While he 
resided in their tents as a hostage, or an exile, be had famil- 
iarly conversed with Attila himself, the nephew of his bene- 
factor; and the two famous antagonists appear to have 
been connected by a personal and military friendship, which 
they afterwards confirmed by mutual gifts, frequent embas- 
sies, and the education of Carpilio, the son of Aetius, in the 
camp of Attila. By the specious professions of gratitude 
and voluntary attachment, the patrician might disguise his 
apprehensions of the Scythian conqueror, who pressed the 
two empires wdth his innumerable armies. His demands 
were obeyed or eluded. When he claimed the spoils of a 
vanquished city, some vases of gold, which had been fraudu- 
lently embezzled, the civil and military governors of Nori- 
cum Avere immediately despatched to satisfy his complaints:^ 
and it is evident, from their conversation with Maximin and 
Priscus, in the royal village, that the valor and prudence of 

6 This portrait is drawn by Renatus Profuturus Frijieriilus, a contemporary 
historian, known onlj"^ by some extracts, which are preserved by Gre<:ory of 
Tours (1. ii. c. 8, in torn. ii. p. 163). It was probably the duty, or at least the 
interest, of Renatus, to magnify the virtues of Aetius ; but he would have shown 
more dexterity if he had not insisted on his patient, /ojy/iriHr/ disposition. 

7 The embassy consisted of Count Romulus ; of Promotus, president of Nori- 
cum ; and of Romanus, the military duke. They were accompanied by Tatul- 
lus, an illustrious citizen of Petovio, in the same province, and father of Orestes, 
who ha<l married the daughter of Count Romulus. See Priscus, pp. 57, 65. Cas- 
siodorus (Variar, i. 4) mentions another embassy, which was executed by his 
fntlier and Carpilio, the son of Aetius ; and, as Attila was no morei he could 
safely boast of their manly, intrepid behavior iu his presence. 



Insessor Libyes, quamvis. fatalibus armis 
Ausus Elisa^i solium rescindere regni, 
Milibns Arctois Tyrias compleverat arces, 
Nunc hostem exutus pactis proprioribus arsit 
Romanam vincire fid^ra, Latiosque parentes 
Adnumerare sibi, Bociamque intexere prolem. 

Merobaudes, p. 12. — M. 



OF THE ROM AX EMPIRE, 177 

Aotius had not saved the Western Romans from the com- 
mon ignominy of tribute. Yet his dexterous poiic}" pro- 
longed the advantages of a .salutary peace; and a numerous 
army of Huns and ALani, whom he liad attached to his per- 
son, was emj)loyed in the defence of GauL Two colonies of 
these Barbariarjs were jiidiciously iixed in the territories of 
Valence and Orleans;^ and tlicir active cavalry secured tlie 
important passages of the Rhone and of the Loire. These 
savage allies Mere not indeed less formidable to the subjects 
than to the enemies of Rome. Their original settlement 
was enforced with the licentious violence of conquest; and 
the province through which they marched was exposed to 
all the calamities of a hostile invasion.® Strangers to the 
emperor or the republic, the Alani of Gaul were devoted to 
the ambition of Aetius; and though he might suspect, that, 
in a contest with Attila himself, they would revolt to the 
standard of their national king, the patrician labored to re- 
strain, rather than to excite, their zeal and resentment 
against the Goths, the Burgundians, and the Franks. 

The kingdom established by the Visigoths in the south- 
ern provinces of Gaul, had gradually acquired strength and 
maturity; and the conduct of those and>itious Barbarians, 
either in ])eace or war, engaged the perpetual vigilance of 
Aetius. After the death of'Wallia, the Gothic 6cej)tre de- 
volved to Theodoric, the son of the great Alaric ; ^° and his 
pros2:)erous reign of more than thirty years, over a turbulent 

8I)eserta YnlenJinfR urWs rura Alani? part'ienda trartniitiir. Prosper. Tyro- 
nis rhron. in Historiens <\e France, torn. i. p. (539. A few lines afterwards, 
Pro'^per obseives, tliat laiuls ii» the ulftrior Oaul were ati^igne<l to the Alani. 
Witlioutarlinitliiifr the correction of Dubos (-oni. i. p. 300), ihe reasonable sup- 
position of hro colonies or garrisons of Alani, will contirm his arguments, and 
remove his objections. . , • • ^i, 

9 See Prosper. Tyro, p. ()?>9. Sidonius (Panegyr. Avit.246) complains in the 
name of Auvargne, his native countrj', — 

Litorius Scythlcos equitcstuno. forte Pubacto 
Celsus Areinorico, Geticum rapiebat in agmen 
Per terras. Arvenie, tuas, qui proxima quaeque 
IHscnrs". flanimi*. ferro. feritate, rapinis, 
Belebant ; pacis fallenles nonien inane. 

Another poet, Paulinas of Perigord, confirms the complaint :— 

Nam 60<.'ium vix ferre queas, qui durior hoste. 

See Dubos, torn. i. p. 330. 

If) Theodoric TT., fhe son of Theodorif 1.. declares to Avitus his resolution of 
repairing, or expiating, the faults which his (jrandfathtr had committed,— 

QusR vaster pcccavit avus, quern fuscat id unum. 
Quod te, lloma, capit- -, .,^., 

Sidon. Panegyric. Avit. 505. 

This chnpter, app1i(^blft onlv to the great Alaric. establLshei* the genealogy of 
the Gothic kiutrs, vhich hai? hitherto been unnoticed. 

Vol. III.— 12 



178 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

people, may be allowed to prove, that his prudence was sup- 
ported by uncommon vigor, botli of mind and body. Im- 
patient of liis narrow limits, Theodoric aspired to the pos- 
session of Aries, the wealthy seat of government and com- 
merce ; but the city was saved by the timely approach of 
Aetius ; and the Gothic king, who had raised the siege with 
some loss and disgrace, Avas persuaded, for an adequate sub- 
sidy, to divert the martial valor of his subjects in a Spanish 
war. Yet Theodoric still watched, and eagerly seized, the 
favorable moment of renewing his hostile attempts. The 
Goths besieged Narbonne, while the Belgian provinces were 
invaded by the Burgundians ; and the public safety was 
threatened on every side by the apparent union of the ene- 
mies of Rome. On every side, tlie activity of Aetius, and 
his Scythian cavalry, opposed a firm and successful resist- 
ance. Twenty thousand Burgundians Avere slain in battle ; 
and the remains of the nation humbly accepted a dependent 
seat in the mountains of Savoy.^^ The walls of Narbonne 
had been shaken by the battering engines, and the inhab- 
itants had endured the last extremities of famine, when 
Count Litorius, approaching in silence, and directing each 
horseman to carry behind him two sacks of flour, cut his 
way through the intrenchments of the besiegers. The siege 
was immediately raised ; and the more decisive victory, 
which is ascribed to the personal conduct of Aetius himself, 
was marked with the blood of eight thousand Goths. But 
in the absence of the patrician, who Avas hastily summoned 
to Italy by some public or private interest. Count Litorius 
succeeded to the command : and his presumption soon dis- 
covered that far different talents are required to lead a wing 
of cavalry, or to direct the operations of an important war. 
At the head of an army of Iluns, he rashly advanced to the 
gates of Toulouse, full of careless contempt for an enemy 
Avhom his misfortunes had rendered prudent, and his situa- 
tion made desperate. The predictions of the augurs had in- 
spired Litorius Avith the profane confidence that he should 
enter the Gothic caj^ital in triumph ; and the trust Avhich he 
reposed in his Pagan allies, encouraged him to reject the 
fair conditions of peace, Avhich Avere repeatedly proposed by 

^' The name of Sapaudla, the origin of Savoy, \s first mentioned by Ammianus 
Marcellinus ; and two military posts are ascertained by the Notitia, within the 
limits of that province; a cohort was stationed at Grenoble in Dauphine ; and 
Ebrodunum, or Iverdun, sheltered a fieet of small A'essels, \v])ich commanded 
the Lake of Neufchutel. See A'alesins, Kotit. Galliarum, p. 503. D'Anville, 
Kotice de I'Aucieuue Gaiile, pp. ^Si, 679, 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 179 

the Lisliops in the name of Theofloric. Tlie king of the 
Goths oxliibited in liis distress tlie edifying eontrnst of Chris- 
tian piety and nio<leration ; nor did he hny aside his sack- 
cU)th and aslies till lie was j)repared to arm for tlie combat. 
His soldiers, animated with martini and religious enthusiasm, 
assaulted the camp of Litorins. The conflict was obstinate ; 
the slaughter was mutual. The Roman general, after a to- 
tal defeat, which could be imputed only to his unskilful 
rashness, was actually led through the streets of Toulouse, 
not in his own, but in a hostile triumph ; and the misery 
which he ex|)erienced, in a long and ignominious captivity, 
excited the compassion of the Barbarians themselves. ^'"^ Such 
a loss, in a country whose finances were long since exhausted, 
could not easily be re])aired ; and the Goths, assuming, in 
their turn, the sentiments of ambition and revenge, would 
have planted their victorious standards on the banks of the 
Rhone, if the presence of Aetius had not restored strength 
and discipline to the Romans.^* The two armies expected 
the signal of a decisive action : but the generals, who were 
conscious of each other's force, and doubtful of their own 
superiority, prudently sheathed their swords in the field of 
battle; and their reconciliation was permanent and sincere. 
Theodoric, king of the Visigoths, appears to have deserved 
the love of his subjects, the confidence of his allies, and the 
esteem of mankind. His throne was surrounded by six val- 
iant sons, who were educated with equal care in the exer- 
cises of the Barbarian camp, and in those of the Gallic 
schools: from the study of the Roman jurisprudence, they 
acquired the theory, at least, of law and justice; and the 
harmonious sense of Virgil contributed to soften the asper- 
ity of their native manners.^'' The two daughters of the 

'2 Salvian has attempted to explain the moral government of the Deity ; a 
task which may be readily performed by supposing, that the calamities of the 
wicked avejuc/ymeiits, and thoso of the righteous trials. 

Capto terrarum damna patebant 

Litorio, in Khodanum propiios producere fines, 
Theudoridie lixuni ; nee erat pugnare necesse, 
Sed niigrare (JeLis ; rabidam trux asperat iram 
Victor ; quod sensit Scylhicuni sub nut'nibus iiostem 
Jmpulat, et nihil est giavius, si foisitaii unquam 
Vincere contingat. tre])ido. Panegyr. Avit. 300, &c. 

SidoniuB then proceeds, according to the duty of a panegyrist, to transfer the 
whole merit from Aetiug to his minister Avitus, 

'^ Theodoric 11. revered, in the person of Avitus, the character of his pre- 
ceptor. 

Mihi Romula dudum 

Per te jura placent ; parvumque ediscere jussit 
Ad tua verl)a pater, docili quo prisca Maronis 
Carmine molliret Scythicos mihi pagina mores. 

Sidon. Panegyr. Avit. 495, &c. 



180 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

Gothic king were given in marriage to the ehlcst sons of 
the kings of the Suevi and of tlie Vandals, wlio reigned in 
Spain and Afi'ica : bnt these ilhistrious alliances were preg- 
nant with guilt an A discord. The queen of the Suevi be- 
wailed the death of a husband inhumanly massacred by her 
brother. The princess of the Vandals was the victim of a 
jealous tyrant, whom she called lier father. "J'he cruel 
Genseric suspected that his son's wife had conspii-ed to poi- 
son him ; the supposed crime was punished by the amputa- 
tion of her nose and ears ; and the unhappy daughter of 
Theodoric was ignominiously returned to the court of Tou- 
louse in that deformed and mutilated condition. This hor- 
rid act, which must seem incredible to a civilized age, drew 
tears from every spectator ; but Theodoric was urged, by 
the feelings of a parent and a king, to revenge such irre- 
parable injuries. The Imperial ministers, who always cher- 
ished the discord of the Barbarians, would have supplied 
the Goths with arms, and ships, and treasures, for the Afri- 
can war; and the cruelty of Genseric might have been fatal 
to himself, if the artful Vandal had not armed, in hi^ cause, 
the formidable power of the Huns. His rich gifts and 
pressing solicitations inflamed the ambition of Attila; and 
tlie designs of Aetius and Theodoric were prevented by the 
invasion of Gaul.^^ 

The Franks, whose monarchy was still confined to the 
neighborhood of the Lower Rhine, had wisely established 
the right of hereditary succession in the noble family of the 
Merovingians.^*' These princes were elevated on a buckler, 
the symbol of military command ; ^"^ and the royal fashion 
of long hair was the ensign of their birth and dignity. 
Their flaxen locks, which they con^bed and dressed with 
singular care, hung down in flowing ringlets on their back 

i» Onr anthorities for the reign of Theodoric I. are, Jornandes de Eebus 
Geticis, c. 34, 3G, and the Chronicles of Idatins, and the two Prospers, inserted in 
the Historians of France, toai. i. pp. 612-040. To these we may add Salvian do 
Gubernatione Dei, 1. vii- pp. 243, 244, 245, and tiie panegyric of Avitus, by 
Sidoniup. 

i*" Keges Crinitos se creavisse de prima, et ut ita dicam iiobiliori suorum 
farailia (Greg, Turon. 1. ii. c. 9, p. 166, of the second volume of the Historians of 
France). Gregory himself does not mention the Merovingian name, which may 
be traced, however, to the beginning of the seventh century, as the distinctive 
appellation of the royal family, and even of the French monarchy. An ingen- 
ious critic has deduced the Merovingians from the great ]\!:>rol)oduus : an«l he 
has clearly proved, that the prince, who gave his name to the first race, was 
mox-e ancient than the father of Childeric. See Memcnros de rAcadeniie des 
Inscriptions, torn. xx. pp. ,52-90, tom. xxx. pp. 557-587. 

^^ This German custom, which may be traced from Tacitus to Gregory of 
Tours, was at length adopted by tlie emperors of Constantinople From a MS. 
of the tenth century, Montfaucon has delineated the representation of a similar 
ceremony, which the ignorance of the ape had applied to King David. See Mon- 
umena de la Mouarchie Franyoise, torn. i. Discours rrelimiuaire. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 181 

and slioiiLlcrs ; "vvhile the rest of tlie nation were obliged, 
either by law or custom, to shave the hinder part of their 
head, to comb their hair over the forehead, and to content 
themselves with the ornament of two small whiskers. ^^ Tlie 
lofty stature of the Franks, and their blue eyes, denoted a 
Germanic origin ; their close apparel accurately expressed 
the figure of tlieir limbs ; a weighty sword was suspended 
from a broad belt ; their bodies were protected by a large 
shield ; and these warlike Barbarians were trained, from 
their earliest youth, to run, to leap, to swim ; to dart the 
javelin, or battle-axe, with unerring aim ; to advance, with- 
out hesitation, against a superior enemy; and to maintain, 
either in life or death, the invincible reputation of their 
ancestors.^^ Clodion, the first of their long-haired kings, 
Avhose name and actions are mentioned in authentic history, 
held his residence at Dispargum,^^ a village, or fortress, 
whose ])laceniay be assigned between Louvain and Brussels. 
From the report of his spies, the king of tlie Franks was in- 
formed, that the defenceless state of the second Belgic must 
yield, on the slightest attack, to the valor of his subjects. 
He boldly penetrated through the thickets and morasses of 
the Carbonarian forest;-^ occupied Tournay and Cambray, 
the only cities which existed in the fifth century, and 
extended his conquests as far as the River Somme, over a 
desolate country, whose cultivation and populousness are 
the effects of more recent industry.^-^ While Clodion lay 
encamped in the plains of Artois,^^ and celebrated, Avith vain 

13 Csesaries prolixa * » * crinium Hagelli:? per terga diinissis, &c. Seethe Pref- 
ace to tlie third volume of the Historians of France, and the Ahbt^ Le Bociif 
(Dissertat. toni. iii. pp. 47-79). This peculiar fashion of the Merovingians has 
been remarked by natives and strangers ; by Prisons (torn. i. p. G0>), by Agathias 
(tom. ii. p. 49), and by Gregory of Tours (1. viii. 18, vi. 24, viii. 10, torn. ii. pp. 1%, 
278, ;;iG). 

^'■> See an original picture of the figure, dress, arms, and temper of tlie ancient 
Franl<s, in Sidoiiius Apollinaris (Panegyr. Majorian. 238-254); and such pictures, 
though coarsely drawn, have a real and intrinsic value. Father Daniel (History 
de la Milice Fianyoise, torn. i. pp. 2-7) ha^i illustrated the description. 

2Jl>ubos, Hist. Critique, &c., tom. i. pp. 271, 272. Some geographers have 
placed Dispargum on the German side of the lihine. See a note ot the Beneilic- 
tiiie Editors, to the Historians of France, tom. ii. j). 106. 

-1 The Carbonarian wood was that part of the great forest of the Ardennes 
which lay between the Escaut, or Sclieldt, and the Meuse. Vales. Kovit. Gall. p. 
120. 

22 Gregor. Turon. 1. ii. c. 9, in tom. ii. pp. IGH, 107. Fredegar. Epitoin. c. 0, p. 
395. Gesta Reg. Francor. c. 5, in tom. ii. p. 544. Yit. St. lieuiig. ab Ilincinar, iii 
tom. iii. p. 373. 

23 Francus qua Cloio patentes 

Atrebatuni terras pervaserat. 

Panegyr. Majorian. 212. 

The precise spot was a town or village, called Victis Helena; and both the name 
and the place are discovered by modern geographers at Lens. See Vales. Notit. 
Gall. p. 246. Longuerue, Description do la France, tom. ii. p. 88. 



182 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

and ostentations security, the marriage, perhaps, of his son, 
the nuptial feast was interrupted by the unexpected and 
unwelcome presence of Aetius, who had passed the Somme 
at the head of his light cavalry. The tables, which had 
been spread under the shelter of a hill, along the banks of a 
pleasant stream, were rudely overturned ; the Franks were 
oppressed before they could recover their arms, or their 
ranks ; and their unavailing valor was fatal only to them- 
selves. The loaded wagons, which had followed their 
march, afforded a rich booty; and the virgin-bride, with her 
female attendants, submitted to the new lovers, who were 
imposed on them by the chance of war. This advantage, 
which had been obtained by the skill and activity of Aetius, 
might reflect some disgrace on the military prudence of 
Clodion ; but the king of the Franks soon regained his 
strength and reputation, and still maintained the possession 
of his Gallic kinsrdom from the Rhine to the Somme.^* 
Under his reign, and most probably from the enterprising 
spirit of his subjects, his three capitals, Mentz, Treves, and 
Cologne, experienced the effects of hostile cruelty and 
avarice. The distress of Cologne was prolonged by the 
perpetual dominion of the same Barbarians, who evacuated 
the ruins of Treves ; and Treves, which in the space of 
forty years had been four times besieged and pillaged, was 
disposed to lose tlie memory of her afflictions in the vain 
amusements of the Circus.'^^ The death of Clodion, after a 
reign of twenty years, exposed his kingdom to the discord 
and ambition of liis two sons. Meroveus, the younger,^® 
was persuaded to implore the protection of Rome ; he was 
received at the Imperial court, as the ally of Valentin ian, 
and the adoj^ted son of the patrician Aetius ; and dismissed 

2-* See a vajiue account of the action in Sidonius. Pane^yr. Majorian, 212-230. 
The French critics, impatient to establish their monarchy in Gaul, have drawn a 
strong argument from the silence of Sid(4iins, who dares not insinuate, that the 
vanquished Franks were compelled to repass the Khine. Dubos, torn, i, p. 3_'2. 

2a Salvian (de Oubernat. Dei, 1. vi.) has expressed, in vague and declamatory 
language, the misfortunes of these three cities, which are distinctly ascertained 
by the learned Maseou, Hist, of the Ancient Germans, ix. 21. 

20 Priscus, in relating the contest, does not name the two brothers; the second 
of whom he had seen at Rome, a beardless youth, with long, flowing hair (His- 
torians of France, torn. i. pp. 607. GOi-). The Dtncdictine Editors are inclined to 
believe, that they were the sons of some unknown king of the Franks, who 
reigned on the banks of the Neckar ; but the argum -nts of M. de Foncemagne 
(Mem. de TAcademie, torn. viii. p. 4G4) seem to prove that the succession" of 
f'lodion was disputed by his two sons, and that the younger was Meroveus, the 
father of Cbilderic.* 



* The relationship of Meroveus to Clodion is extremely doubtful. — By some 
he is called an jllegitimate son ; by others, merely of his lace. Greg. Tur. ii. c, 
9, in Sismondi, Hist, des Fran^ais, i. 177. See Mezeray, 1.— M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE, 183 

to his native country, with splendid gifts, and tlie strongest 
assui'ances of friendship and support. During his absence, 
his ehler brother had solicited, with equal ardor, the for- 
midable aid of Attila ; and the king of the Huns embraced 
an alliance, which facilitated the passage of the Rhine, and 
justified, by a specious and honorable 2:>retence, the invasion 
of Gaul."^'' 

When Attila declared his resolution of supporting the 
cause of liis allies, the Vandals and the Franks, at the same 
time, and almost in the spirit of romantic chivalry, the 
savnge monarch ])rofessed himself the lover and the cham- 
pion of the princess Honoria. The sister of Yalentinian was 
educated in the palace of Ravenna; and as her marriage 
might be productive of some danger to the state, she was 
raised, by the title of Augusta^^ above the Iiopes of the 
most presumj)tuous subject. But the fair Ilonoria had no 
sooner attained the sixteenth year of her age, than she 
detested the importunate greatness which must forever 
exclude her from the comfoils of honorable love ; in the 
midst of vain and unsatisfactory pomp, Ilonoria sighed, 
yielded to the impulse of nature, and threw herself into the 
arms of her chamberlain Eugcnius. Her guilt and shame 
(such is the absurd language of imperious man) were soon 
betrayed by the appearances of pregnancy ; but the disgrace 
of the royal family was published to the world by the 
imprudence of the empress Placidia: who dismissed her 
daughter, after a strict and shameful confinement, to a 
remote exile at Constantinople. The unhaj)py princess 
passed twelve or fourteen years in the irksome society of 
the sisters of Theodosius, and their chosen virgins ; to 
whose crown Honoria could no longer aspire, and whose 
monastic assiduity of prayer, fasting, and vigils, she reluc- 
tantly imitated. Her impatience of long and hopeless celi- 
bacy urged her to embrace a strange and desperate resolu- 
tion. The name of Attila was familiar and formidable at 
Constantinople; and his frequent embassies entertained a 
perpetual intercourse between his camp and the Imperial 
palace. In the pursuit of love, or rather of revenge, the 

27 Under the Merovingian race, the throne was hereditary ; but all the sons of 
the deceased monarch were equally entitled to their share of his treasures and 
territories. See the dissertations of M. de Foncemagne, in the sixth an<l eighth 
volumes of the Memoires de I'Acad^mie. 

2s A medal is still extant, which exhibits the pleasing countenance of Honoria, 
with the title of Augusta ; and on the reverse, the impror)er legend of Sahi$ 
Bcipublicoi round the monogram of Christ. See Ducauge, Famil. Byzautiu. pp. 
67, 73. 



184 THE DECLINE A3fD FALL 

daughter of PI acid ia sacrificed every duty and every pre- 
judice ; and offered to deliver lier person into the arms of 
a Barbarian, of wliose language »he was ignorant, whose 
figure was scarcely human, and whose religion and manners 
she abhoiTed. By the ministry of a faithful eunuch, she 
transmitted to Attiia a ring, the pledge of her affection ; and 
earnestly conjured him to claim her as a lawful spouse, to 
whom he had been secretly betrothed. These indecent 
advances were received, however, with coldness and disdain ; 
and the king of the Huns continued to multiply the number 
of his wives, till his love was awakened by the more forcible 
passions of ambition and avarice. The invasion of Gaul 
was preceded, and justified, by a formal demand of the 
princess Honoria, with a just and equal share of the Imperial 
patrimony. His predecessors, the ancient Tanjous, had 
often addressed, in the same hostile and peremptory man- 
ner, the daughters of China ; and the pretensions of Attiia 
were not less offensive to the majesty of Rome. A firm, 
but temperate, refusal was communicated to his ambassa- 
dors. The right of female succession, though it might 
denve a specious argument from the recent examples of 
Placidia and Pulcheria, was strenuously denied ; and the 
indissoluble engagements of ITonoria were opposed to the 
claims of her Scythian lover.-^ On the discovery of her 
connection with the king of the Huns, the guilty princess 
had been sent away, as an object of horror, from Constanti- 
nople to Italy : her life was spared ; but the ceremony of 
her marriag-e was performed with some obscure and nominal 
husband, before she was immured in a perpetual ])rison, to 
bewail those crimes and misfortunes, which Honoria might 
have escaped, had she not been born the daughter of an 
emperor.*^ 

A native of Gaul, and a contemporary, the learned and 
eloquent Sidonius, who was afterwards bishop of Clermont, 
had made a promise to one of his friends, that he would 
compose a regular history of the war of Attiia. If the 
modesty of Sidonius had not discourasred him from the 

^ Seo Priscus, pp. 30, 40. It might be fairly alleged, that if females could 
succeed to the throne, Valeutiuiaii himself, who had married the daughter and 
heiress of the younger Theodosius, would have asserted her right to the Eastern 
empire. 

3' The adventures of Honoria are imperfectly related by Jornandes, de Succes- 
sione Regn. c. 97, and de Keb. Get. c. 42, p. 674'; and in the Chronicles of Pros- 
per and Marcellinas ; but they cannot be made consistent, or probable, unless we 
separate, by an interval of time and place, her intrigue with Eugenius, and her 
invitation of Attiia. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 185 

prosecution of tliis interesting work,^^ the historian would 
have related, witli the simplicity of truth, tliot;e luemorable 
events, to whicli the poet, in vngne and doubtful metaphors, 
has concisely alluded."-^ The kings and nations of Germany 
and Scythia, from the Volga perhajjs to the Danube, 
obeyed the warlike summons of Attila. From the royal 
village, in the plains of Hungary, his standard moved tow- 
ards the West; and after a march of seven or eight 
hundred miles, he reached the conflux of the Rhine and 
the Neckar, where he was joined by the Franks, wlio ad- 
liered to his ally, the elder of the sons of Clodion. A troop 
of light Barbarians, who roamed in quest of plunder, might 
choose the winter for the convenience of passing the river 
on the ice ; but the innumerable cavalry of the Huns re- 
quired such jilenty of forage and provisions, as could be 
j)rocured only in a milder season ; the Hercynian forest 
su])])lied materials for abridge of boats; and the hostile 
myriads were poured, with resistless violence, into the 
Bc'lgic provinces.*^^ The consternation of Gaul was univer- 
sal ; and the various fortunes of its cities have been adorned 
by tradition with martyrdoms and miracles.^^ Troyes 
was saved by the merits of St. Lupus; St. Servatius was 
removed from the world, that he might not behold the ruin 
of Tongres ; and the prayers of St. Genevieve diverted the 
inarch of Attila from the neighborhood of Paris. But as the 
greatest part of the Gallic cities were alike destitute of saints 

31 Exegeras milii, ut proniitterem tibi, Attilnc belluni stylo me posteiis intima- 
turum .... cti^i)eram scribeie, sed operis arrej)ti fasce perspetto, ttcduit 
iuchoasse. SiJou. Apoll. 1. viii. epist. 15, p. 235. 

<>2 Subito cum riipta tmiiuUii 

JBaibarles Iotas in te transfmlerat Aictos, 
Gallia. Pugiiacein Kuyum coiuitaiite Oeloiio, 
Gepida trux sequitur; Scyium Buiginidio cogit : 
ChunuH, IJelloiiolus. Neiiius. Ba^tenia, Torinyus, 
Briuterus, ulvo^l vel quern Nicer abluit uikII 
Prorumpit Fiaucus. Ceoidit cito .seda bipciiui 
Hercynia in linties, et Rhenum texuit alno. 
Et jam territi" is dittuderat AtUla turniis 
In campus ae, Belga, tuos. 

Panegyr. Avit. 319, &c. 
83 The most authentic and circnmstantial account of this war is contained in 
Joruan(h>8 (de Kf b. Geti<is, c. 3G-4J, ])\).{'AJ2-iu'2), wlio has sometimes abridged, and 
Bometimes trauHcribed tlie larger Instory of Cassiodorus. Jornundes. a quota- 
tiou whicli it would be superfluous to repeat, may be corrected and iliustrate<l by 
Gregory of Tours, 1. ii. c. 5, 6, 7, and the Chronicles of Idatius, Isidore, and the 
two Prospers. All the ancient testimonies are (ollected and inserted in tlie His- 
tonans of France ; but the rea<ler should be cautioned agjiinst a supposed ex- 
tract from the (Chronicle of Idatius (among the fragments of Fredegarins, torn. ii. 
p. 4G2) which often contradicts the genuine text of tlie Gallician bishop. 

3* The nncinit legendaries deserve some regard, as tliey are obliged to connect 
their fables with the real history of their own times. See the lives of St. Lupus, 
St. Anianus, the bishops of Metz, Ste. Genevieve, «.tc., in the Historians oi 
France, torn. i. pp. 644, 645, 649, torn. iii. p. 369. 



186 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

and soldiers, they were besieged and stormed by the Huns ; 
■who ] r icticed, in the example of Metz,^^ their customary 
maxims of war. They in^■olved, in a promiscuous massacre, 
the priests who served at the altar, and the infants, who, in 
the hour of danger, had been providently baptized by tlie 
bishop ; the flourishing city was delivered to the flames, 
and a solitary chapel of St. Ste])hen marked the place where 
it formerly stood. From the Rhine and the Moselle, Attila 
advanced into the heart of Gaul ; crossed the Seine at 
Auxerre; and, after a long and laborious march, fixed his 
camp under the walls of Orleans. He was desirous of 
securing his conquests by the possession of an advantageous 
post, which commanded the passage of the Loire; and he 
depended on the secret invitation of Sangiban, king of the 
Alani, who had promised to betray the city, and to revolt 
from the service of the empire. But this treacherous con- 
spiracy was detected and disappointed: Orleans bad been 
strengthened with recent fortifications; and the assaults -of 
the Huns were vigorously repelled by the faithful valor of 
the soldiers, or citizens, who defended the place. The 
pastoral diligence of Anianus, a bishop of primitive sanctity 
and consummate prudence, exhausted every art of religious 
policy to .support their courage, till the arrival of the ex- 
pected succors. After an obstinate siege, the walls were 
shaken by the battering rams ; the Huns had already 
occupied the suburbs ; and the people, who were incapable 
of bearing arms, lay prostrate in prayer. Anianus, who 
anxiously counted the days and hours, despatched a trusty 
messenger to observe, from the Tam])art, the face of the 
distant country. He returned twice, without any intelligence 
that could inspire hope or comfort ; but. in his third repoi-t, 
he mentioned a small cloud, which he had faintly descried 
at the extremity of the horizon. " It is the aid of God ! " 
exclaimed the bishop, in a tone of j)ious confidence ; and the 
whole multitude repeated after him, "It is the aid of God." 
The remote object, on which every eye was fixed, became 
each moment larger, and more distinct; the Roman and 
Gothic banners were gradually perceived ; and a favorable 

3^ The skepticism of the count de Buat(Hist. des Peuples, torn. vii. pp. r)"J>, 
640) cannot be reconciled with any principles of reason or criticism. Is not 
Gregory of Tours precise and posiiive in his account of the destruction of Mctz ? 
At tlie distance of no more than a hundred yeai-s, could he be ij^norant. could the 
people be ijinorant, of tlie Tate of a city, the actual residence of his sovereigns, 
the kings of Austrasia? The learned count, who seems to have undertaken the 
ajtolo^'v of .Atlilri ami the Barbarians, appeals to the false Idatins, y^rrrrm.N civi- 
tatibus (iermaniaj ct Galli.e. and forgets ihaf the true Idatiiis had explicitly 
alKruiod, pluriuiui civitates iffractie, among which he enumerates Metz. 



OF THE EOMAN^ EMPIEE. 187 

wind blowing aside the dust, discovered, in deep array, tlie 
iin])atient squadrons of Aetius and Theodoric, who pressed 
forwards to the relief of Orleans. 

The facility with which Attila had penetrated into the 
heart of Gaul, may be ascribed to his insidious policy, as 
well as to the terror of his arms. His public declai-ations 
were skilfully mitigated by his private assurances ; he alter- 
nately soothed and threatened the Romans and the Goths ; 
and the courts of Ravenna and Toulouse, mutually sus- 
picious of each other's intentions, beheld with supine indif- 
ference, the approach of their common enemy. Aetius was 
the sole guardian of the public safety ; but his wisest 
measures were embarrassed by a faction, which, since the 
death of Placidia, infested the Imperial palace ; the youth 
of Italy trembled at the sound of the trumpet ; and the 
Barbarians, who, from fear or affection, were inclined to the 
cause of Attila, awaited with doubtful and venal faith the 
event of the war. The patrician passed the Alps at the 
head of some troops, whose strength and numbers scarcely 
deserved the name of an army.^^ But on his arrival at 
Aries, or Lyons, he was confounded by the intelligence, that 
the Visigoths, refusing to embrace the defence of Gaul, had 
determined to expect, within their own territories, the for- 
midable invader, whom they professed to despise. The 
senator Avitus, who, after the honorable exercise of the 
Praetorian ])ra)fecture, had retired to his estate in Auvergne, 
was persuaded to accept the important embassy, which he 
executed with ability and success. He represented to 
Theodoric, that an ambitious conqueror, who aspired to the 
dominion of the earth, could be resisted only by the firm 
and unanimous alliance of the powers whom he labored to 
oppress. The lively eloquence of Avitus inflamed the Gothic 
warriors, by the description of the injuries which their 
ancestors had suffered from the Huns ; whose implacable 
fury still pursued them from the Danube to the foot of the 
Pyrenees. lie strenuously urged, that it was the duty of 
every Christian to save from sacrilegious violation the 
churches of God, and the relics of the saints; that it was the 
interest of every Barbarian, who had acquired a settlement 
in Gaul, to defend the fields and vineyards, which were cul- 

Vix liqiierat Alpes 



Aetiiis, teiiue, Pt raruin sine niilite dnoens 
Kobur, in auxiliis Geticum male rrednlns apmen 
Incassum propriis praiBiimens adfore »a<tns. 

Paiiegyr, Avit. 328, &c. 



188 THE DECLINE aNI> PALL 

tivated for his use, against the desolation of the Scytliian 
shej)herd8. Theodoric yielded to the evidence ol ti-iitli ; 
adopted the measure at once the most ])riident and tlie most 
honorable ; and declared, that, as the faithful ally of Aetius 
and the Romans, he was ready to expose his life and king- 
dom for the common safety of Gaul.^'' The Visigoths, who, 
at tliat time, were in the mature vigor of their fame and 
power, obeyed with alacrity the signal of war ; prepared 
their arms and horses, and assembled under the standard of 
their aged king, who was resolved, with his two eldest 
sons, Torismond and Theodoric, to command in person 
his numerous and valiant people. The example of the Gofh.4 
determined several tribes or nations, that seemed to fluctu- 
ate between the Huns and the Romans. The indefatigable 
diligence oi the patrician gradually collected the troops of 
Gaul and Germany, who had formerly acknowledged them- 
selves the subjects, or soldiers, of the rei)ub]ic, but who now 
claimed the rewards of voluntary service, and the rank of 
independent allies ; the La^tl, the Armoricans, the Breones, 
the Saxons, the Burgundians, tlie Sarmatians, or Alani, the 
Ripuarians, and the Franks who followed Meroveus as their 
lawful prince. Such was the various army, which, under 
the conduct of Aetius and Theodoric, advanced, by rapid 
marches, to relieve Orleans, and to give battle to the in- 
numerable host of Attila.^^ 

On their approach, the king of the Huns immediately 
raised the siege, and sounded a retreat to recall the foremost 
of his troops from the pillage of a city which they had 
already entered. ^^ The valor of Attila was always guided 
by his prudence ; and as he foresaw the fatal consequences 
of a defeat in the heart of Gaul, he repassed the Seine, and 
expected the enemy in the plains of Chalons, whose smooth 

3T The policy of Attila, of Aetius, anfl of tlie Visigoths, is imperfectly de- 
scribed in the Panegyric of Avitus, and tlie thirty-sixth chapter of Jornaiides. 
The ))oct and the historian were both biased by personal or national prejudices. 
The former exalts the merit and importance of Avitus ; orbis. Avite, saliis, &c, I 
The latter is anxious to show the Goths in the most favorable light. Yet their 
agreement, when they are fairly interpreted, is a proof of their veracity. 

3«* The review of the army of Aetius is made by .lornandcs. c. .'T.. p. 6CA, edir. 
Grot. tom. ii. p. 23, of the Historians of France, with the notes of the Benedic- 
tiiu^ editor. 'Jlie I.a'ti were a promiscnons race of Barbarians, born or naturalized 
in (^aul ; and the Riparii, or Ripunrii, derived their name from their post on the 
three rivers, the Rhine, the Meuse, and the Moselle ; the Armoricans possessed 
the independent cities between the Seine and Loire. A colony of .Sd.mmt ha-i 
been planted in the diocese of Bayeux ; the Bnrf/vnflians were settled in Sa- 
voy ; and the Breones were a warlike tribe of Khjctians, to the east of the Lake 
of Constan<'e. 

3J Aurclianensis urbis obsidio, oppugnatio, irruptio. nee direptio. 1. v. Sidon. 
Apnllin. ]. viii. Epist. IT), p. 24G. I'he jiroservation of Orleans might easily be 
turned into a miracle, obtained and foretold by the holy bishop. 



OF THE ROMAN EMmiE. 189 

and level surface was adapted to tlie operations of liis 
Scytliian cavalry. But in tliis tumultuary retreat, the Aan- 
guard of tlie Romans and their allies continually ])resse(l, 
and sometimes engaged, the troops whom Attila had posted 
in the rear ; the hostile columns, in the darkness of the 
niglit and the perplexity of the roads, might encounter each 
other without design ; and the bloody conflict of tl»e Franks 
and Gepida3, in which fifteen thousand '^^ Barbai-ians were 
slain, was a prelude to a more general and decisive action. 
The Catalaunian fields'*^ spread themselves round Chalons, 
and extend, according to the vague measurement of Jornan- 
des^ to the length of one hundred and fifty, and tlie breadth 
of one hundred miles, over the Avliole province, which is 
entitled to the appellation of a chawpaign country .^^ Tliis 
spacious plain was distinguishe<l, liowever, by some inequali- 
ties of ground ; and the im])ortance of a height which com- 
manded the camp of Attila, was understood and disputed by 
the two generals. The young and valiant Torismond first 
occupied the Bnmmit; the Goths rnshed witli irresistible 
weight on the Huns, who labored to ascend from the op])o- 
site side : and the possession of this advantageous post in- 
spired both the troops and their leaders with a fair assur- 
ance of victory. The anxiety of xVttila prompted liim to 
consult his priests and haruspices. It was reported, that, 
after scrutinizing tlie entrails of victims, and sci-aping their 
bones, they revealed, in mysterious language, Iiis own de- 
feat, with the death of his princij)al adversaiy ; and that the 
Barbarian, by accepting tlie equivalent, expressed Ids in- 
voluntary esteem for the superior merit of Aetius, But the 
unusual despondency, which seemed to prevail among the 
Huns, engaged Attila to use the expedient, so familiar to 
the generals of antiquity, of animating his troops by a mili- 
tary oration ; and his language was tliat of a king, who had 
often fought and conquered at their head.^^ He pressed 

*9 The common editions read XCM ; but there is some authority of manu- 
flcripts (and almost any authority is sutticient) for the more reasonable number, 
of XVM. 

*' Chalons, or Duro-Catalaunum, afterwards ("afalauni, had formerly made a 
part of the territory of Kheims, from wlience it is distant only tweiity-sevt;u 
miles. See Vales. Notit. GaU. p. 136. U'Anville, Notice dc rAncieiine Gaule, 
pp. 212, 279. 

■•s The name of Campania or Champagne, is frequently mentioned by Gregory 
of Tours ; and that great province, of whicli Ulieims was the capital, obeyed the 
coinniand of a duke, \ales. Nolit. pp. 120-123. 

■•3 X am sensible that tliese military orations are usually composed by the his- 
torian ; yet tlie oM Ostrogoths, who had served under Attila, might repeat liis 
discour.-e to Cassiodorus ; the ideas, and even the express^ioiis, have an original 
Scyihlan cast; and I d'tubt whether an Italian of the sixth century would have 
thought of the hujus certaminis yaudia. 



190 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

them to consider their past glory, their actual danger, and 
their future hopes. The same fortune, which oj)ened the 
deserts and morasses of Scythia to their unarmed valor, 
which had laid so many warlike nations prostrate at their 
feet, had reserved ihejoi/s of this memorable field for the 
consummation of their victories. The cautious steps of 
their enemies, their strict alliance, and their advantageous 
posts, he artfully represented as the effects, not of prudence, 
but of fear. The Visigoths alone were the strength and 
nerves of the opposite army; and the Huns might securely 
trample on the degenerate Romans, whose close and com- 
pact order betrayed their apprehensions, and who were 
equally incapable of sup])ortiiig the dangers or the fatigues 
of a day of battle. The doctrine of predestination, so 
favorable to martial virtue, was carefully inculcated by the 
king of the Huns ; wlio assured his subjects, that the 
warriors, protected by Heaven, were safe and invulnerable 
amidst the darts of the enemy ; but that the unerring Fates 
would strike their victims in the bosom of inglorious peace. 
'"■I myself," continued Attila, " w'ill throw the first javelin, 
and the wretch who refuses to imitate the example of his 
sovereign, is devoted to inevitable death." The spirit of 
the Barbarians was rekindled by the presence, the voice, and 
the example of their intrepid leader ; and Attila, yielding 
to their impatience, immediately formed his order of battle. 
At the head of his brave and faithful Huns, he occupied in 
person the centre of the line. The nations subject to his 
empire, the Rugians, the Heruli, the Thuringians, the 
Franks, the Burgundians, were extended on either hand, 
over the ample space of the Catalaunian fields; the right 
wing was commanded by Ardaric, king of the Gepidae ; and 
the three valiant brothers, who reigned over the Ostrogoths, 
were posted on the left to o])pose the kindred tribes of the 
Visigoths. The disposition of the allies w'as regulated by a 
different princi])le. Sangiban, the faithless king of the 
Alaiii, was placed in the centre, where his motions might be 
strictly watched, and his treachery might be instantly pun- 
ished. Aetius assumed the command of the left, and The- 
odoric of the right wdng; while Torismond still continued to 
occupy the lieiglits which appear to have stretched on tlie 
flank, and perhaps the rear, of the Sc} thian army. The 
nations from the Volga to the Atlantic were assembled on 
the ])lain of Chalons ; but many of these nations had been 
divided by faction, or conquest, or emigration ; and the a])- 



OP THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 191 

pearance of similar arms and ensigns, wliicli threatened each 
other, presented the image of a civil war. 

The discipline and tactics of the Greeks and Romans 
form an interesting part of their national manners. The 
attentive study of the military operations of Xenophon, or 
Caesar, or Frederic, when they are described by the same 
genius which conceived and executed them, may tend to 
improve (if such improvement can be wished) the ai-t of 
destroying the human species. But the battle of Chalons 
can only excite our curiosity by the magnitude of the object ; 
since it Avas decided by the blind impetuosity of Barbarians, 
and has been related by partial writers, whose civil or eccle- 
siastical profession secluded them from the knowledge of 
military affairs. Cassiodorus, however, had familiarly con- 
versed with many Gothic warriors, who served in that 
memorable engagement ; " a conflict," as they informed 
him, " fierce, various, obstinate, and bloody ; such as could 
not be paralleled either in the present or in past ages." 
The number of the slain amounted to one hundred and 
sixty-two thousand, or, according to another account, three 
hundred thousand persons ; ^^ and these incredible exaggera- 
tions suppose a-real and effective loss sufficient to justify the 
historian's remark, that whole generations may be swept 
away, by the madness of kings, in the space of a single hour. 
After the mutual and repeated discharge of missile weapons, 
in which the archers of Scythia might signalize their supe- 
rior dexterity, the cavalry and infantry of the two armies 
were furiously mingled in closer combat. The Huns, who 
fought under the eyes of their king, pierced through tlie 
feeble and doubtful centre of the allies, separated tlieir 
wings from each other, and wheeling, with a rapid effort, to 
the left, directed their Avhole force a^rainst the Visiii-oths. 
As Theodoric rode along the ranks, to animate his troops, 
he received a mortal stroke from the javelin of Andages, a 
noble Ostrogoth, and immediately fell from his horse. The 
wounded king was oppressed in the general disorder, and 
trampled under the feet of his own cavalry ; and this im- 
portant death served to explain the ambiguous prophecy of 

♦♦ The expressions of Joniandes, or rather of Cassiodorus, are extremely stroiif^. 
Bellum atrox, multiplex, innnaiie, perlinax, cui simile nulla usqiiam iiarrat aiiti- 
quita-i : ubi talia gesta referuutur, ut nihil esset <(uod in vita sua conspic re po- 
tuisset egregius, qui hujus miraculi privaretur aspectu. Dulios (Hist. Critique, 
torn. i. pp. 31)2, 3!);^) attempts to reconcile the 162,000 of Joniandes vvilli the:5»0,000 
of Idatius and Fsidore, by supposing that the larger number included the total 
destruction of the war, the effects of disease, the slaughter of the unarmed peo- 
ple, &c. 



192 THE DECLIXE AXD FALL 

the haruspices. Attila already exulted in the coiiii deuce of 
victory, when the valiant Torismond descended from the 
hills, and verified the remainder of the prediction. The 
Visisfoths, who had been thrown into confusion bv the flio:ht 
or defection of the Alani, gradually restored their order of 
battle; and the Huns Avere undoubtedly vanquished, since 
Attila was compelled to retreat. He had exposed his per- 
son with the rashness of a private soldier; but the intre])id 
troops of the centre had pushed forwards beyond the 
rest of the line ; their attack was faintly supported ; their 
ilanks were unguarded ; and the conquerors of Scythia and 
Germany were saved by the approach of the night from a 
total defeat. They retired within the circle of wagons that 
fortified their camp; and the dismounted squadrons pre- 
pared themselves for a defence, to which neither their arms, 
nor their temper, were adapted. The event was doubtful : 
but Attila had secured a last and honorable resource. The 
saddles and rich furniture of the cavalry Avere collected, by 
his order, into a funeral ])ile ; and the magnanimous Barba- 
rian had resolved, if liis intrenchments should be forced, to 
rush Iieadlong into the flames, and to deprive his enemies 
of the glory Avhich they might have acquired, by the death 
or captivity of Attila.^'' 

But Ids enemies had passe<l the night in equal disorder 
and anxiety. The inconsiderate courage of Torismond was 
tempted to urge the pursuit, till he unexpectedly found him- 
self, with a few followers, in the midst of the Scythian 
wagons. In the confusion of a nocturnal combat, he was 
thrown from his horse ; and the Gothic prince must have 
perished like his father, if his youthful strength, and the in- 
trepid zeal of his companions, had not rescued him from 
this dangerous situation. In the same manner, but on the 
left of tlie line, Aetius himself, separated from his allies, 
ignorant of their victory, and anxious for their fate, encoun- 
tered and escaped the hostile troops that were scattered 
over the plains of Chalons ; and at length reached the camp 
of the Goths, which he could only fortify with a slight ram- 
part of shields, till the dawn of day. The Im])erial general 
was soon satisfied of the defeat of Attila, who still remained 
inactive within his intrenchments; and when he contem- 
plated the bloody scene, he observed, with secret satisfac- 

4^ Tho, count deBiint (ilji^t. ties PeiipleB, &<'., torn. vii. pp. ."ir)4-o7r>), still depend- 
jngoii ihe/dlse, aiidHf.':uii rejectinj^ \he iriic, Idaliut;, h:-.h divided tlie defeat c>t' At- 
tila into two ;^reat battles ; llio t'oruHu- near Orleans, t!:e lallor iu CliamiJagiie : 
iji the one, TUeyduiic was aluin ; iu the other, he was iyvengeU, 



OF THE HOMAN EMPIRE, 193 

tion, that the loss had principally fallen on the Barbarians. 
The body of Theodoric, pierced with honorable wounds, 
was discovered under a heap of the slain ; his subjects be- 
wailed the death of their king and father ; but their tears 
were mingled with songs and acclamations, and his funeral 
rites were performed in the face of a vanquished enemy. 
The Goths, clashing their arms, elevated on a buckler his 
eldest son Torismond, to whom they justly ascribed the 
glory of their success ; and the new king accepted the obli- 
gation of revenge as a sacred ])ortion of his paternal inheri- 
tance. Yet the Goths themselves were astonished by the 
fierce and undaunted aspect of their formidable antagonist; 
and their historian has compared Attila to a lion encom- 
passed in his den, and threatening his hunters with redou- 
bled fury. The kings and nations who might have deserted 
his standard in the hour of distress, were made sensible 
that the displeasure of their monarch was the most imminent 
and inevitable danger. All his instruments of martial music 
incessantly sounded a loud and animating strain of defiance ; 
and the foremost troops who advanced to the assault were 
checked or destro^'ed by showers of arrows from every side 
of the intrenchments. It was determined, in a general 
council of war, to besiege the king of the Huns in his camp, 
to intercept his provisions, and to reduce him to the alter- 
native of a disgraceful treaty or an unequal combat. But 
the impatience of the Barbarians soon disdained these cau- 
tious and dilatory measures ; and the mature policy of 
Aetius was apprehensive that, after the extirpation of the 
Huns, the republic would be oppressed by the pride and 
power of the Gothic nation. The patrician exerted the 
superior ascendant of authority and reason to calm the 
passions, which the son of Theodoric considered as a duty ; 
represented, with seeming affection and real truth, the dan- 
gers of absence and delay ; and persuaded Torismond to 
disappoint, by his speedy return, the ambitious designs of 
his brothers, who might occupy the throne and treasures of 
Toulouse.** After the departure of the Goths, and the 
separation of the allied army, Attila was surprised at the 
vast silence that reigned over the plains of Chalons : the 

<« Jornandes de Rebus Geticis, c. 41, p. 671. The policy of Aetius, and the be- 
havior of Torismond, are extremely natural ; and the patrician, according to 
Gregory of Tours (1. ii. c. 7, p. 163), dismissed the prince of the Franks, by sug- 
gesting to him a similar apprehension. The false Idatius ridiculously pretends 
that Aetius paid a clandestine nocturnal visit to the kings of the Huns and of the 
A'^isigoths ; from each of wliom he obtained a bribe of ten thousand pieces of 
gold, as the price of an undiaturbed retreat. 

Vol. hi.— 13 



194 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

suspicion of some hostile stratagem detained him several 
days witliin the circle of his wagons, and his retreat beyond 
the Kliine confessed the last victory which was achieved in 
the name of the Western empire. Sleroveus and his Fi-anks, 
ohserving a prudent distance, and magnifying the opinion 
of tlieir strength by the numerous fires which they kindled 
every night, continued to follow the rear of the Iluns till 
they reached the confines of Thuringia. The Thuringians 
served in the army of Attila : they traversed, both in their 
march and in their return, the territories of the Franks ; 
and it was perhaps in this war that they exercised the cru- 
elties which, about fourscore years afterwards, wei-e le- 
venged by the son of Clovis. They massacred their hostages, 
as well as their captives : two hundred young maidens were 
tortured with exquisite and unrelenting rage ; their bodies 
were torn asunder by wild horses, or their bones were 
crushed under the weight of rolling wagons ; and their un- 
buried limbs were abandoned on the public roads, as a prey 
to dogs and vultures. Such were those savage ancestors, 
wliose imaginary virtues have sometimes excited the praise 
and envy of civilized ages ! ^^ 

Neither the spirit, nor the forces, nor the reputation, of 
Attila, were impaired by the failure of the Gallic expedition. 
In the ensuing spring he repeated his demand of the princess 
Honoria, and her patrimonial treasures. The demand was 
again rejected, or eluded ; and the indignant lover immedi- 
ately took the field, passed the Al})s, invaded Italy, and be- 
sieged Aquileia with an innumerable host of Barbarians. 
Those Barbarians were unskilled in the methods of con- 
ducting a regular siege, which, even among the ancients, 
required some knowledge, or at least some practice, of the 
mechanic arts. But the labor of many thousand provincials 
and captives, whose lives wei-e sacrificed without pity, 
might execute the most painful and dangerous work. The 
skill of tlie Roman artists might becorru])ted to the destruc- 
tion of their country. Tlie Avails of Aquileia were assaulted 
by a formidable train of battering rams, movable turrets, 
and engines, that threw stones, darts, and fire;^*^ and the 

*"> These cruelties, wlikh are passionately deplored by Theodorie, the pon of 
Clovis (Gregory of Tours, ]. iii. c. 10, p. 190)* suit the time and civcunistaiices of 
the invaf ion of Attila. His residence in Thuringia was long attested by popu- 
lar tradition ; and he is supposed to have as?;einbled a cmirmrtni, ox diet, in the 
territory of Eisenach. See Mascoii, ix. 30. who settles with nice accuracy the ex- 
tent of ancient Thuringio, and derives its name from the Gothic tribe of theTher- 
vingi. 

*^ Machiiiis constructis, omuibnsqne tormentoruni generibus adhibilis. Jor« 



OF THE EOMAN EMPIRE. 195 

monarch of the Huns employed the forcible impulse of hope, 
fear, emulation, and interest, to subvert the only barrier 
which delayed the conquest of Italy. Aquileia was at that 
period one of the richest, the most populous, and the strong- 
est of the mai'itirae cities of the Adriatic coast. The 
Gothic auxiliaries, who appeared to have served under their 
native pi'inces, Alaric and Antala, communicated their in- 
trepid spirit ; and the citizens still remembered the glorious 
and successful resistance wliich their ancestors had oj)i)Osed 
to a herce, inexorable Barbarian, who disgraced the majesty 
of tlie Roman purple. Thi-ee months were consumed with- 
out effect in the siege of Aquileia ; till the want of provi- 
sions, and the clamors of his army, compelled Attila to 
relinquish the entei-prise ; and reluctantly to issue his orders, 
that the troops should strike their tents the next morning, 
and begin their retreat. But as he rode round the walls, 
pensive, angry, and disappointed, he observed a stork pre- 
paring to leave her nest, in one of the towers, and to fly 
with her infant family towards tlie country. He seized, 
Avith the ready ])enetration of a statesman, this trilling inci- 
dent, which chance had offered to superstition ; and ex- 
claimed, in a loud and cheerful tone, that such a domestic 
bird, so constantly attached to human society, would never 
have abandoned her ancient seats, unless those towers had 
been devoted to impending ruin and solitude.^^ The favora- 
ble omen inspired an assurance of victory ; the siege was re- 
newed and prosecuted with fresh vigor; a large breach was 
made in the part of the wall from whence the stork had 
taken her flight ; the Huns mounted to the assault with irre- 
sistible fury ; and the succeeding generation could scarcely 
discover the ruins of Aquileia.^*^ After this dreadful chas- 

naiules, c. 42, p. fi73. In the thirteenth century, the Moguls battered the cities of 
China witli large engines, constructed by the Mahometans or Christians in their 
service, whiili threw stones from 150 to 300 pounds weight. In the defence of 
their country the Chinese use<l gunpowder, and even bombs, above a hundred 
years before they were known in Europe ; yet even those celestial, or infernal 
arms, were insulHcient to protect a pusillanimous nation. See Gaubil. Hist, des 
Mongous, pp. 70, 71, 155, 157, &c. 

<■* The same story is told by Joi-nandes, and by Procopius (de Bell. Vandal. 1. 
1. c. 4, pp. ]h7, 18S) : nor is it easy to decide which is the original. But the Greek 
historian is guiltv of an inexcusable mistake, in placing the siege of Aquileia 
after the death of Aetius. 

^ Jornandes, about a hundred years afterwards, aflirms, that Aquileia was so 
completely mined, ita ut vix ejus vestigia, ut appareant, reliquerint. See Jor- 
nandes de Reb. Geticis, c. 42, p. 073. Paul. Diacoii. 1. ii. c. 14. p. 785. Liutprand, 
Hist. 1. iii. c. 2. The name of Aquileia was sometimes applied to Forum Julii 
(Cividad del Friuli), th^ more recent capital of the Venetian province.* 



* Compare the curious Latin poems on the destruction of Aquilea, published 



196 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

tisement, Attila pursued his march ; and as he passed, the 
cities of Altinum, Concordia, and Padua, were reduced into 
heaps of stones and ashes. The inland towns, Vicenza, 
Yerona, and Bero-amo, were exposed to the rapacious cruelty 
of the Huns. Milan and Pavia submitted, without resist- 
ance, to the loss of their wealth ; and applauded the unusual 
clemency which preserved from the flames the public, as 
well as private, buildings, and spared the lives of the cap- 
tive multitude. The popular traditions of Comum, Turin, 
or Modena, may justly be suspected; yet they concur with 
more authentic evidence to prove, that Attila spread his 
ravages over the rich plains of modern Lombardy ; which 
are divided by the Po, and bounded by the Alps and Apen- 
nine.^^ When he took possession of the royal palace of 
Milan, he was surprised and offended at the sight of a pic- 
ture which represented the Caesars seated on their throne, 
and the princes of Scythia prostrate at their feet. The re- 
venge which Attila inflicted on this monument of Roman 
vanity, Avas harmless and ingenious. He commanded a 
2>ainter to reverse the figures and the attitudes ; and the em- 
l)erors were delineated on the same canvas approaching in a 
suppliant posture to empty their bags of tributary gold be- 
fore the tlirone of the Scythian monarch." The spectators 
must have confessed the truth and propriety of tlie altera^ 
tion ; and were perhaps tempted to apply, on this singular 
occasion, the well-known fable of the dispute between the 
lion and the man.^^ 

It is a saying worthy of the ferocious pride of Attila, 

51 In desci'ibing this war of Attila, a war so famous, but bo imperfectly known, 
I have taken for my guides two learned Italians, who considered the subject with 
some peculiar advantages ; Sigonius. de Imperio Occidentali, 1. xiii. in his works, 
tom. i. pp. 495-502 ; and Aluratori, Annali d'ltalia, tom. iv. pp. 229-236, 8vo. edi- 
tion. 

^^ Tins anecdote may be found under two different articles (fjie8L6\avou and 
KopvKos) of the miscellaneous compilation of Suidas. 

53 Leo respondit, humana hoc pietum manu : 

Videres hominem dejeetuni, si pingere 
Leones scireut. 

Appendix ad Phanirum, Fab. xxv. 

The lion iji Phajdrus very foolishly appeals from pictures to the amphitheatre ; 
and I am glad to observe that the native taste of La Fontaine (1. iii. fable x.) has 
omitted this most lame and impotent conclusion. 



by M. Endlicher in his valuable catalogue of Latin MSS. iu the library of Vienna, 
p. 298, &c. 

Repleta quondam domlbus sublimibus, ornatis, mire, niveis, marmoreis, 

Nunc ferax frugum metiris iuniculo rurioolarum. 
The monkish poet has his consolation in Attila's sufferings in soul and body. 

Vindictam tamen non evasit iinpius destructor tuus Attila sevissimus, 

Nunc igni simul gehennuj et vermilibuo excruciatur.— P. 230.— M. 



OP THE TwOMAX EMPIRE. 197 

that the grass never grew on the spot where his horse had 
trod. Yet the savage destroyer undesignedly laid the foun- 
dation of a republic, which revived, in the feudal state of 
Europe, the art and spirit of commercial industry. The 
celebrated name of Venice, or Venetia,^* was formerly dif- 
fused over a large and fertile province of Italy, from the 
confines of Pannonia to the River Addua, and from the Po 
to the Rhaetian and Julian A1])S. Before the irruption of 
the Barbarians, fifty Venetian cities flourished in peace and 
prosperity : Aquileia was placed in tlie most conspicuous 
station : but the ancient dignity of Padua was supported 
by agriculture and manufactures ; and the property of five 
hundred citizens, who were entitled to the equestrian rank, 
must have amounted, at the strictest computation, to one 
million seven hundred thousand pounds. Many families of 
Aquileia, Padua, and the adjacent towns, who fled from 
the sword of the Huns, found a safe, though obscure, refuge 
in the neighboring islands.^^ At the extremity of the Gulf, 
where the Adriatic feebly imitates the tides of the ocean, 
near a hundred small islands are se]>arated l)y sliallow 
water from the continent, and protected from the waves by 
several long slips of land, which admit the entrance of ves- 
sels through some secret and narrow channels.^^ Till the 
middle of the fifth century, these remote and sequestered 
spots remained without cultivation, with few inhabitants, 
and almost without a name. But the manners of the Vene- 
tian fugitives, their arts and their government, were gradu- 
ally formed by their new situation ; and one of the epistles 
of Cassiodorus,^" which describes their condition about 

M Paul the Deacon (de Gestis Langobard. 1. ii. c. 14, p. 784 describes the prov- 
inces of Italy about the end of the eighth century. Feiietia non solum in paucis 
insulis quas mine Venetias dicimus, constat ; sed ejus terminus a PannoniiR fini- 
bus usque Adduam fluvium protelatur. The liistory of that province till the age 
of Charlemagne forms the first and most interesting part of the Verona Illustrata 
(pp. 1-38X), in wliich the marquis Sclpio Maffei has shown himself equally capa- 
ble of enlarged views and minute disquisitions. 

&' This emigration is not attested by any contemporai'y evidence, but the 
fact is proved by the event, and the circumstances might be preservecl by tradi- 
tion. The citizens of Aquileia retired to the Isle of Gradus, tliose of Padua to 
Kivus Altus, or Rialto. where the city of Venice was afterwards built, &c. 

"* The topography and antiquities of the Venetian islands, from Gradus to 
Clodia, or Chioggia, are accurately stated in the Dissertation Chorographica de 
Italia Medii ^^vi, pp. 151-155. 

5" Cassiodor. Variar. 1. xii. epist. 24. MaflFei (Verona Illustrata, parti, pp. 240-254) 
has translated and explained this curious letter, in the spirit of a learned anti- 
quarian and a faithful subject, who considered Venice as the only legitimate off- 
spring of the Roman reT)uV)lic. He fixes the date of the epistle, and consequently 
the prajfecture, of Cassiodorus, A. D. .'523 : and the marquis's authority lias the 
iT)(>i-e weight, as lie liad-prepared an edition of his works, and actually published 
a dissertat ion on the true orthography of his name. See Osservazioni Lctterarie, 
torn. ii. pp. 290-339. 



198 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

seventy years afterwards, may be considered as the primi- 
tive monuuient of the republic* The minister of Theo- 
doric compares tliem, in his quaint declamatory style, to 
water-fowl, who had fixed their nests on the bosom of the 
waves ; and though he allows, that the Venetian provinces 
had formerly contained many noble families, he insinuates, 
that they were now reduced by misfortune to the same level 
of humble poverty. Fish was the common, and almost uni- 
versal, food of every rank : their only treasure consisted in 
the plenty of salt, which they extracted from the sea : and 
the exchange of that commodity, so essential to human life, 
was substituted in the neighboring markets to the currency 
of gold and silver. A people whose habitations might be 
doubtfully assigned to the earth or water, soon became alike 
familiar with the two elements ; and the demands of avar- 
ice succeeded to those of necessity. The islanders, who, 
from Grado to Chiozza, were intimately connected with each 
other, penetrated into the heart of Italy, by the secure, 
though laborious, navigation of the rivers and inland canals. 
Their vessels, which were continually increasing in size and 
number, visited all the harbors of the Gulf ; and the mar- 
riage, which Venice annually celebrates with the Adriatic, 
was contracted in her early infancy. The epistle of Cassio- 
dorus, the Praetorian pragfect, is addressed to the maritimie 
tribunes ; and he exhorts them, in a mild tone of authority, 
to animate "the zeal of their countrymen for the public ser- 
vice, which required their assistance to transj)ort the maga- 
zines of wine and oil from the province of Istria to the 
royal city of Ravenna. The ambiguous office of these mag- 
istrates is exijlained by the tradition, that, in the twelve 

* The learned count Figliasi has proved, in his memoirs upon the Veneti ple- 
morie de' Veneti prinii e secondi del conte Figliasi. t. vi. Venezia, IT'JCi) that from 
the most remote period, this nation, which occupied the country wliicli has since 
been called the Venetian States or Terra Firma. likewise inhabited the islands 
scattered upon the coast, ;ind that from thence arose the names of Veiietio pri^ 
ma and secnnda, of which the first applied to the main land and the second to the 
islands and lajjunes. From the time of the Pelasgi and of the Etrurians, the 
first Veneti, inhabiting a fertile and pleasant country, devoted themselves to ag- 
riculture : the second, place.l in the midst of canals, at the mouth of seveial 
rivers, conveniently situated with regard to the islands of Greece, as well as the 
fertile plains of Italy, applied themselves to navigation and commerce. Both 
Bubmitted to the Konians a short time before the second Punic war ; yet it wss 
not till the victory of Marias over the Cimbri, that their country was reduced 
to a Koman province. Under the emperors, Venctia Prima obained more than 
once, by its calamities, a place in history. * * But the maritime province was 
occupied in salt works, fisheries, and commerce. The Komans have considered 
the inhabitants of this part as beneath the dignity of history, and have left them 
in obscurity. ■>» * * They dwelt there until the p(M-iod when their islands 
afforded a retreat to their ruined and fugitive compatriots. Sismondi, Hist, dea 
Bep. Italiens, v. i. p. .M'J. — G. 

Conijjare, on the origin of Venice, Daru, Hist, de Venisc, a'oI. i. c. i. — M. 



OF THE ROMAX EMPIRE. 199 

principal islands, twelve tribunes, or juclges, were created 
by an annual and popular election. The existence of the 
Venetian republic under the Gothic kingdom of Italy, is 
attested by the same authentic record, which anniliilates 
their lofty claim of original and per2)etual independence.^^ 

The Italians, who had long since renounced the exercise 
of arms, were surprised, after forty years' peace, by the 
approach of a formidable Barbarian, whom they abhorred, 
as the enemy of their religion, as well as of their republic. 
Amidst the general consternation, Aetius alone was inca- 
pable of fear ; but it was impossible that he should achieve, 
alone and unassisted, any military exploits worthy of liis 
former renown. The Barbarians who had defended Gaul, 
refused to march to the relief of Italy ; and the succors 
promised by the Eastern emperor were distant and doubtful. 
Since Aetius, at the head of his domestic troo])S, still main- 
tained the field, and harassed or retarded the march of 
Attila, he never showed himself more truly great, than at 
the time when his conduct wuh blamed by an ignorant and 
ungrateful people.^^ If the mind of Valentin ian had been 
susceptible of any generous sentiments, he woidd have chosen 
such a general for liis example and iiis guide. But the 
timid grandson of Theodosiu.s, instead of sharing the dan- 
gers, escaped from the sound of war ; and his hasty retreat 
from Ravenna to Rome, from an impregnable fortress to an 
open capita], betrayed his secret intention of abandoning 
Italy, as soon as the danger siiould approach his Imperial 
person. This shameful abdication was suspended, however, 
by the spirit of doubt and delay, which commonly adiieres 
to pusillanimous counsels, and sometimes corrects their per- 
nicious tendency. The Western emperor, with tlie senate 
and people of Rome, embraced the more salutary resolution 
of deprecating, by a solemn and su])pliant embassy, the 
wrath of Attila. This important commission was accepted 
by Avienus, who, from his birth and riches, his consular 
dignity, the numerous train of his clients, and his personal 

158 See, in the second volume of Amelot de la Hoxissaie, Histoire du Gonvernc- 
ment (le VeuLse, a traiisbitioTi of tli« famotia St/jutthiin. 'Ihis book, which lias 
been exalted far alx>ve its merits, is stained, in eveiy line, with the disingennoua 
malevolence of party : but the principal evidence, genuine and apoery[)lial, ia 
brought together, and the reader •will easily choose t!ie fair 7ne<lium. 

^'•' Sirmond (Not. ad Sidon. Ai)oHin. p. 19) has pidjlished a curiouB passage 
from the Chronicle of Prosper. Attila, redintegratis viribus, quaa in Gallia 
aniiserat, Italiani ingredi per I'annonias intendit ; nihil duce jiostro Actio secun- 
dum priori.s belli opera prospiciente, &c. He re[»roachos Aetius with neglecting 
to guard Ihe Alps, and with a design to abandon Italy; but this rnshcensure 
may ot leaat be counterbalanced by the favorable testimonies of Idaliua aud 
Isidore. 



200 THE DECLITfE AND TALL 

abilities, held the first rank in the Roman senate. The spe- 
cious and artful character of Avienus^^was admirably quali- 
fied to conduct a negotiation either of pablic or private 
interest : his collensnie Trio-etius had exercised the Pra3to- 
rian priefecture of Italy ; and Leo, bishop of Rome, con- 
sented to expose his life for the safety of his flock. The 
genius of Leo " was exercised and displayed in the public 
misfortunes ; and he has deserved the appellation of Greats 
by the snccesful zeal with which he labored to establish his 
opinions and his authority, under the venerable names of 
orthodox faith and ecclesiastical discipline. The Roman 
ambassadors were introdviced to the tent of Attila, as he 
lay encamped at the place where the slow-winding Mincius 
is lost in the foaming waves of the Lake Benacus,^^ and 
trampled with his Scythian cavaliy, the farms of Catullus 
and Virgil.^* Tlie Barbarian monarch listened with favor- 
able, and even respectful, attention ; and the deliverance of 
Italy was purchased by the immense ransom, or dowry, of 
the princess Honoria. The state of his anny might facili- 
tate the treaty, and hasten his retreat. Their martial spirit 
was relaxed by the wealth and indolence of a warm climate. 
The shepherds of the North, whose ordinary food consisted 
of milk and raw ilesh, indulg^ed themselves too freely in 
the use of bread, of wine, and of meat, prepared and 
seasoned by the arts of cookery ; and the progre^s of dis- 

60 See tlie original portraits of Avienns and Ms- rival Basilins, delmf^ated and 
contrasted in the epistles (\. 9. p. 22) of Sidonius. He had studied the characters 
of the two chiefs of the senate ; but he attached himself to Basilius, as the more 
solid and disinterested friend. 

Gi The character and princi- les of Leo may he traced in one hundretl and 
forty-one oricinaT epistles, wnich illustrate the ecclesiastical histoiy of his long 
and busy pontilic3tej,fn>m A. D. 440 to4Gl. See Dupin, Bibliotheqae Ecci^sias- 
tique, torn. iii. part. ii. pp> 120-165. 

^ tardis increits nbi flexibus errat 



Mincius, et teuera prjetexit arundine rlpas 

Aiuie lacus tantos, te Lari niaxime, teque 
FJuctibus, et frcniitu nssurgeus Beuacc niartuvx 

'■-'» The marquis ]Maffei (Verona lUustrata, part i. pp. 05, 129, 221, pait fi. pp. 2, 
6) has illustrated with taste an.l learning this iuterestina: topography. He places 
the interview of Attila and St. Leo near Arioli<'a, or Ardelica. now Poschiera, at 
the conllex of the lake and river; ascertains the villa of Catullus, in the delight- 
ful peninsula of Sirmio, and discovers the Andes of Yii-gil, in the village of 
Bandes, precisely situate, qufi se subdneere colles incipiunt, where the Veronese 
hills imperceptibly slope down into the plain of Mantua.* 



* Gibbon has made a singular mistake ; the IMincius flows out of theBenacus 
at Pescliiera, not into it. The interview i^ likewise placed at Ponte Moliuo, and 
at Governolo, at the contlex of the IVIincio and the Po- Gonzaga, bishop of 
IVIantua, erected a (ablet in the year IGin, in the church of the latter place, com- 
memorative of the event- Descrizioue di Verona e dclla sua provincia. C. 11, p. 
126.— M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 201 

ease revenged in some measure the injuries of the Italians.*^^ 
When Attiia declared liis resohition of carrying his victo- 
rious arms to the gates of Kome, he was admonished by Iiis 
friends, as well as by his enemies, that Alaric had not long 
survived the conquest of the eternal city. His mind, supe- 
rior to real danger, was assaulted by imaginary terrors ; nor 
could he escape the influence of superstition, which had so 
often been subservient to his designs/'^ The pressing elo- 
quence of Leo, his majestic aspect and sacerdotal robes, ex- 
cited tlie veneration of Attiia for the spiritual father of the 
Christians. The apparition of the two apostles, St. Peter 
and St. Paul, who menaced the Barbarian with instant 
death, if he rejected the prayer of their successor, is one of 
the noblest legends of ecclesiastical tradition. The safety 
of Rome might deserve the interposition of celestial beings ; 
and some indulgence is due to a fable, which has been 
represented by the pencil of Raphael, and the chisel of 
Algardi.^^ 

Before the king of the Huns evacuated Italy, he threat- 
ened to return more dreadful, and more implacable, if his 
bride, the ])rincess Honoria, were not delivered to his am- 
bassadors within the term stipulated by the treaty. Yet, in 
the mean while, Attiia relieved his tender anxiety, by add- 
ing a beautiful maid, whose name was lldico, to the list of 
his innumerable wives.^^ Their marriage was celebrated 
with barbaric pomp and festivity, at his wooden palace be- 
yond the Danube; and the monarch, opj)ressed with wine 
and sleep, retired at a late hour from the banquet to tlie 
nuptial bed. His attendants continued to respect his pleas- 
ures, or his repose, the greatest part of the ensuing day, till 

^ Si statim infesto agmiiie urbem petiissent, graiide discrimen esset : sed in 
Venetia quo lere tractu Jtaliii mollissiiiia est, ipsa toli ca^lique clenieiitia robur 
elniiguit. Ad hoc paiiis usu (aniisque coctie, et dulcedine viiii iiiiligatos, &<;. 
This passage of Floras (iii. :!) is still more applicable to tlie llniis than to Cimbri, 
and it may serve as a coinmentavy on the celestial plague, with -wliicli Idatiusaiid 
Isidore have afflicted the troops of Attiia. 

*^^ The historian Priscus had positively mentioned the effect which this example 
produced on the mind of Attiia, fJoniandes, c. '12, p. (i73. 

^^ The picture of Raphael is in the Vatican ; tlie basso (or perliaps tlie alto) 
relievo of Algar«li, on one of tlie altars of St. Peter (see Diibos, Kellexions sur la 
Poesie et siir la Peinture, torn. i. pp. 510-520). Baronius (Annal. Kccles. A.l). 
452, No. 57, 58) bravely sustains the truth of tlie apparition ; which is rejected, 
however, by the most learned and {)iOHS Catholics. 

'^' Attiia', ut Priscus historicus refert. extinctionis suae Tempore, pnellam T]dir«o 
nomine, de<'oram valde, sibi matrimoiiium post innunierabiles uxores * * ''■ 
socians. flornandes, c. 49, pp. fiS.S, 6S4. He afterwards adds (c. 50, p. 686), Filii 
i\ttil:e. quorum per licenliam libidini. pcene populus ftiit. Polygamy has been 
establishe*! among the Tartars of overy age. Tlic iniik of [debeian wives is regu- 
lated only by iht.ir personal (diarms ; aiul the faded matron prepare s, williont a 
murmur, the bed which is destined for her blooming lival. But in ro\al laniilifs, 
the daughters of Fvhaiis comiiiunicaie to their sous a prior right ul iuherit.ance. 
See Genealogical History, pp. 4CGj 407, 40b. 



202 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

the. unusual silence alarmed their fears and suspicions ; and, 
after attempting to awaken Attila by loud and repeated 
cries, they at length broke into the royal apartment. They 
found the trembling bride sitting by the bedside, hiding her 
face with her veil, and lamenting her OAvn danger, as well as 
the death of the king, Avho had expired during tlie night.^^ 
An artery had suddenly burst : and as Attila^ lay in a supme 
posture, he was suffocated by a torrent of blood, which, in- 
stead of finding a passage through the nostrils, regurgitated 
into the lungs and stomach. His body was solemnly ex- 
posed in the midst of the plain, under a silken pavilion ; and 
the cliosen squadrons of the Huns, wheeling round in 
measured evolutions, chanted a funeral song to the memory 
of a hero, glorious m his life, invincible in his death, the 
father of his people, the scourge of his enemies, and tlie 
terror of the world. According to their national custom, the 
Barbarians cut off a part of their hair, gashed their faces 
with unseemly wounds, and bewailed their valiant leader as 
he deserved, not with tlie tears of women, but Avith the blood 
of warriors. The remains of Attila were enclosed within 
three coffins, of gold, of silver, and of iron, and privately 
buried in the night * the spoils of nations were thrown into 
liis grave; the captives who had opened the ground were in- 
liumanly massacred; and the same Huns, who had indulged 
such excessive grief, feasted, with dissolute and intemperate 
mirth, about the recent sepulchre of their king. It was re- 
ported at Constantinople, that on the fortunate night on 
which he expired, Marcian beheld in a dream the bow of 
Attila broken asunder : and the report may be allowed to 
proA'e, how seldom the image of that formidable Barbarian 
was absent from the mind of a Roman emperor.^^ 

The revolution which subverted the empire of the Huns 
established the fame of Attila, whose genius alone had sus- 
tained the huge and disjointed fabric. After his death, the 
boldest chieftains aspired to the rank of kings; the most 
powerful kings refused to acknowledge a superior ; and the 
numerous sons, whom so many various mothers bore to the 

^^ The report of her rfullt reached Constantinople, where it obtained a very 
different name t and Marcelliniis observes, that tlie tyrant of Europe was slain in 
the night by the hand, and the knife, of a woman. Corneille, who has adapted 
the genuine account to Ins trairedy, describes the irruption of blood in forty bom- 
bast lines, and Attila exclaims, with ridiculous fuiy, 

S'il ne veut s'arreter (his blood), 

(DiL-il) on me payera ce qui m'en va couter. 

^^ The curious circumstances of the death and funeral of Attila are related by 
Jornundcs i,c. i'J, i:>p. GS3, GSl, Ctj5), and were urobably transcribed from Priscus. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 203 

deceased monarch, divided and disputed, like a private in- 
heritance, the sovereign command of tlie nations of Germany 
and Scythia. The bohl Ardaric felt and rej)resented the 
disgrace of this servile partition ; and his subjects, the war- 
like Gepidae, with the Ostrogoths, under the conduct of 
three valiant brothers, encouraged their allies to vmdicate 
the riglUs of freedom and royalty. In a bloody and deci- 
-sive conflict on the banks of the lliver Netad, in Pannonia, 
the lance of the Gepidje, the sword of the Goths, the arrows 
of the Huns, the Suevic infantry, the liglit arms of the 
Pleruli, and the lieavy weapons of the Alani, encountered 
or su])ported each otlier ; and the victory of Ardaric was 
accompanied with tlie slaughter of thirty thousand of his 
enemies. Ellac, the eldest son of Attila, lost his life and 
crown in the memorable battle of Netad : his early valor 
had raised him to the throne of the Acatzires, a Scythian 
people, whom he subdued ; and his father, wlio loved the 
superior merit, would have envied the death of Ellac.'^^ 
His brother Dengisich, with an army of Huns, still formid- 
able m their flight and ruin, maintained his ground above 
fifteen years on the banks of the Danube. The palace of 
Attila, with the old country of Dacia, from the Carpatlnan 
hills to the Euxine, became the seat of a new power, which 
was erected by Ardaric, king of the Gepidae. The Panno- 
nian conquests from Vienna to Sirmium, were occupied by 
the Ostrogoths ; and the settlements of the tribes, who had 
so bravely asserted their native freedom, were irregularly 
distributed, according to the measure of their respective 
strength. Surrounded and oppressed by the multitude of 
his father's slaves, the kingdom of Dengisich was confined 
to the circle of his wagons; his desperate courage urged 
him to invade the Eastern empire: he fell in battle; and 
his head ignominiously exposed in the Hippodrome, ex- 
hibited a grateful spectacle to the people of Constantinople. 
Attila had fondly or superstitiously believed, that Irnac, 
the youngest of his sons, was destined to perpetuate the 
glories of his race. The character of that ]n-ince, who at- 
tempted to moderate the rashness of his brother Dengisich, 
was more suitable to the declining condition of tlie Huns ; 

7" See Jomajides, do Rebus Oeticis, c. 50, pp. 6^5. C80, 687, GSf. His distinction 
of the national anus is cunous and imporlant. Nam ibi admirandum veor fiiisso 
Rpectaculum, nbi cernere erat ciinctis, pugnanteni (Jothuni ense fnrentom, Gepi- 
dani in viilneie suorum cuncta tela fiangentt-m, SueA'^em pede, ITnnnuni sagittA, 
prnssumere, Alanum gravi, Horulnm levi. armatnva. acicin inslruere. 1 uni not 
precisely informed of the situation of the River Netad. 



204 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

and Irnac, with his subject hordes, retired into the heart of 
the Lesser Scythia. Tliey were soon overwlielmed by a 
torrent of new J3arbarians, who followed tlie snnie road 
which their own ancestors had formerly discovered. The 
Geoiigen^ or Avares, whose residence is assigned by the 
Greek writers to the shores of the ocean, ini])elled the ad- 
jacent tribes ; till at length the Igonrs of the North, issuing 
from the cold Siberian regions, who produce the most valu- 
able furs, spread themselves over the desert, as far as tlie 
Borysthenes and the Caspian gates ; and finally extinguished 
the empire of the Huns.''^ 

Such an event might contribute to the safety of the East- 
ern empire, under the reign of a prince who conciliated the 
friendship, without forfeiting the cstet m, of the Barbarians. 
But the emperor of the West, the feeble and dissolute Val- 
entinian, who had reached his thirty-fifth year without at- 
taining the age of reason or courage, abused this apparent 
security, to undermine the foundations of his own throne, by 
the murder of the patrician Aetius. From the instinct of a 
base and jealous mind, he liated the man who was univer- 
sally celebrated as the terror of the Barbarians, and the sup- 
port of the republic ; * and his new favorite, the eunuch 
Heraclius, awakened the emperor from the supine lethargy, 
wdiich might be disguised, during the life of Placidia,'^^ by 
the excuse of filial piety. The fame of Aetius, his wealth 
and dignity, the numerous and martial train of Barbarian 
followers, his powerful dependents, who filled the civil 
ofliices of the state, and the hopes of his son Gaudentius, Avho 
was already contracted to Eudoxia, the emperor's daughter, 
had raised him above the rank of a subject. The ambitious 

Ti Two modern historians have thrown mtuh new lipht on the ruin and divi- 
sion of the empire of Attila ; M. de Bnat. by his laborious and minute dilifjence 
(torn. viii. pp. 3-31, 68-94), and M. de Gui<:nes, by his extraordinary knowledge of 
the Chinese lancnage and writers. See Hist, dcs Huns, toni. ii. pp. 31.5-319. 

■2 Placidia died at Eome, November 27. A .!>. 4.50. She was buried at Ravenna, 
where her sepulchre, and even lier corpse, seated in a chair of cypress wood, 
were preserved for ajres. The empress received many compliments from the 
ortliodox clergy; and St. Peter Chrysologus assured her, that her zeal for Ihe 
Trinity had been recompensed by an august trinity of children. See Tillemont, 
Hist, lies Emp. torn. vi. p 240- 



* The praises awarded by Gibbon to the character of Aetius have been anim- 
adverted upon with great severity (see Mr. Herbert's Attila, p. 321). 1 am not 
aware that Gibbon has dissembled or palliated any of the crimes or treasons of 
^tins : but his y)Osition at I lie time of his murder was certainly that of the pre- 
server of the empire, the couqueror of the most dangerous of the barbarians ; it 
is bv no means clear that lie was not "innocent" of any treasonable designs 
acainst Valentinian. If tho early acts of his life, the introduction of the Hinis 
into Italy, and of the Vandals into Africa, were among the proximate ( auses of 
the ruin "of the empire, his murder was the signal for its almost immediate down- 
rail.— M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 205 

designs, of wliicli he was secretly accused, excited the fears, 
as well as the resentment, of Vaientinian. Aetius himself, 
siij)]K)rted by the consciousness of his merit, his services, 
and perhaps his innocence, seems to have maintained a 
haughty and indiscreet behavior. The patrician offended 
his sovereign by a hostile declaration ; he aggravated the 
offence, by compelling him to ratify, with a solemn oath, a 
treaty of reconciliation and alliance ; he proclaimed his sus- 
})icions, he neglected his safety; and from a vain confidence 
that the enemy, whom he despised, was incapable even of 
a manly crime, he rashly ventured his person in the ])alace 
of Rome. Whilst he urged, pei'haps with intemperate 
vehemence, the marriage of his son ; Vaientinian, drawing 
his sword, the first sword he had ever drawn, plunged it in 
tJie breast of a general who had saved his empiro: his cour- 
tiers and eunuchs ambitiously struggled to imitate their 
master; and Aetius, pierced with a hundred wounds, fell 
(I'jad in the royal presence. Boethius, the Praetorian pre- 
fect, was killed at the same moment, and before the event 
could be divulged, the principal friends of the patrician 
were summoned to the palace, and separately murdered. 
The horrid deed, palliated by the specious names of justice 
and necessity, was immediately communicated by the em- 
peror to his soldiers, his sul>jects, and his allies. The 
nations, who were strangers or enemies to Aetius, gener- 
ously deplored the unworthy fate of a hero: the Barbarians, 
who had been attached to his service, dissembled their grief 
and resentment; and the public contempt, which had been 
so long entertained for Vaientinian, was at once converted 
into deep and universal abhorrence. Such sentiments 
seldom pervade the walls of a palace; yet the emperor was 
confounded by the honest reply of a Roman, whose appro- 
bation he had not disdained to solicit. "lam ignorant, 
sii;, of your motives or provocations ; I only know, that you 
have acted like a man who cuts off his right hand with his 
left.'' '« 

The luxury of Rome seems to have attracted the long 
and frequent visits of Vaientinian ;• who was consequently 
more despised at Rome than in any other part of his domin- 
ions. A republican spirit w^as insensibly revived in the 
senate, as their authority, and even their supplies, became 

7^ Aetium Placidus mactavit seiuivir ameiis, is the expression of Sidonius 
(Paiiegyr. Avit. 359). Tlie poet knew the world, and was not inclined to flatter a 
minister who had injured or disgraced Avitiis and Majorian,the successive heroes 
of his song. 



20G THE DECLINE AND EALL 

necessary for the support of his feeble government. The 
stately demeanor of an hereditary monarch offended their 
pride; and the pleasures of Yalentinian Avere injurious to 
the ]jeace and honor of noble families. The birth of the 
empress Eudoxia was equal to his own, and her charms and 
tender affection deserved those testimonies of love which 
her inconstant husband dissipated in vague and unlawful 
amours. Petronius Maximus, a wealthy senator of the 
Anician family, who liad been twice consul, was possessed 
of a chaste and beautiful wife : her obstinate resistance 
served only to irritate the desires of Valentinian ; and he 
resolved to accomplish them, either by stratagem or force. 
Deep gaming was one of the vices of the court : the em- 
peror, who, by chance or contrivance, had gained from Max- 
imus a considerable sum, uncourteously exacted his ring as 
a security for the debt ; and sent it by a trusty messenger 
to his wife, with an order, in her husband's name, that she 
should immediately attend the empress Eudoxia. The un- 
suspecting wife of Maximus was conveyed in her litter to 
the Imperial palace ; the emissaries of her impatient lover 
conducted her to a remote and silent bed-cli amber ; and 
Valentinian violated, without remorse, the laws of hospital- 
ity. Her tears, when she returned home, her deep afflic- 
tion, and her bitter reproaches against a husband whom she 
considered as the accomplice of his own shame, excited 
Maximus to a just revenge ; the desire of revenge was 
stimulated by ambition ; and he might reasonably aspire, 
by the free suffrage of the Roman senate, to the throne of a 
detested and despicable rival. Valentinian, wlio supposed 
that every human breast was devoid, like his own, of friend- 
ship and gratitude, had imprudently admitted among liis 
guards several domestics and followers of Aetius. Two of 
these, of Barbarian race, were persuaded to execute a sacred 
and honorable duty, by punishing with death the assassin^of 
their patron ; and their intrepid courage did not long ex- 
pect a favorable moment. Whilst Valentinian amused him- 
self, in the field of Mars, with the spectacle of some military 
sports, they suddenly rushed upon him Avith drawn weapons, 
despatched the guilty Heraclius, and stabbed the emperor 
to the heart, without the least opposition from his numer- 
ous train, who seemed to rejoice in the tyrant's death. Such 
was the fate of Valentinian the Third, ^'* the last Roman em- 

''* With regard to the cause and circumstances of the death of Aetius and Val- 
entinian, our information is dark and imperfect. Procopius (de Bell. Vandal. 1. 



OF THE llOMAX EMPIRE. 207 

peror of the family of Tlieodosins. He faitlifully imitntod 
the hereditary weakness of his cousin and liis two uncles, 
without inheriting the gentleness, the purity, the innocence, 
which alleviate, in their characters, the want of spirit and 
ability. Valentinian was less excusable, since he had ])as- 
sions, without virtue; even his religion was questionable ; 
and though he never deviated into the })aths of lieresy, 
he scandalized the pious Christians by liis attachment to 
the profane arts of mngic and divination. 

As early as the time of Cicero and Yarro, it was the 
opinion of the Roman augurs, that the ticelve vultvres whi(;h 
Romulus had seen, represented the vwelce centuries, assigned 
for the fatal period of his city." This propliecy, disregarded 
perhaps in the season of liealth and prosperity, ins])ired the 
])eople with gloomy apprehensions, when the twelfth cen- 
tury, clouded with disgrace and misfortune, was almost 
elapsed ; ''^ and even posterity must acknowledge with some 
surprise, that the arbitrary interpretation of an accidental 
or fabulous circumstance has been seriously verified in tlie 
downfall of the Western empire. But its fall was an- 
nounced by a clearer omen than the flight of vultures; the 
Roman government appeared every day less formidable to 
its enemies, more odious and oj)pressive to its subjects.'^'^ 
The taxes were multiplied with the public distress; economy 
was neglected in proportion as it became necessary ; and 
the injustice of the rich shifted the unequal burden from 
themselves to the people, whom they defrauded of the in- 
dulgences that might sometimes have alleviated their misery. 

i. c. 4, pp. 186, 187, 188) is a fabulous writer for the events which precede his own 
memory. His narrative muj^t therefore be supplied and corrected by live or six 
Chronicles, none of which were composed in Konie or Italy ; and which can only 
express, in broken sentences, the popular ruraors, as they were conveyed to 
Gaul, Spain, Africa, Constantinople, or Alexandria. 

''•> Tlii- interpretation of Vettius, a celebrated augur, was quoted by Yarro, in 
the xviiiih book of his Antiquities. Censorinus, de Die Natali, c. 17, pp. 90, Ul, 
edit. Havercanip. 

'li According to Yarro, the twelfth century would expire A. D, 447 ; but the 
uncertainty of the true ana of Rome might allow some latitude of anticipation 
or delay. The jjoets of the age, Claudian (de Bell. Getico. 265) and Sidonius (in 
Panegyr. Avit. .357), may be admitted as fair witnesses of the popular opinion. 

Jam reuulant annos, intercoptoque volatu 
Vulturis, incidun.? properatis sajcula metis. 
****** 
Jam prope fata tiii bissenas Yulturis alas 
Implebaut ; scis namque tuos, scis, Roma, labores. 

See l)ubo8, Hist. Critique, torn. i. pp. 340-346. 

" The fifth book of Salvian is filled with pathetic lamentations and vehement 
Invectives. His immoderate freedom serves to prove the weakness, as well as 
the corruption, of the Roman government. His book was published after the 
loss of Africa (A. D. 439), and before Attila's war (A. D. 451). 



208 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

The severe inquisition which confiscated their goods, and 
tortured their persons, compelled the subjects of Valenti- 
nian to prefer the more simple tyranny of the Barbarians, 
to fly to the woods and mountains, or to embrace the vile 
and abject condition of mercenary servants. They abjured 
and abhorred the name of Roman citizens, which had for- 
merly excited the ambition of mankind. The Armorican 
provinces of Gaul, and the greatest part of Spain, were 
thrown into a state of disorderly independence, by the con- 
federations of the Bagaudae; and tlie Imperial ministers 
pursued with proscriptive laws, and ineffectual arms, the 
rebels whom they had made."^^ If all the Barbarian con- 
querors had been annihilated in the same hour, their total 
destruction would not have restored the empire of the 
West : and if Rome still survived, she survived the loss of 
freedom, of virtue, and of honor. 

78 The Bagaudae of Spain, who fought pitched battles with the Roman troops, 
are repeatedly mentioned in the Chronicle of Idatius. Salvian has described 
their distress and rebelMon in very forcible language. Itaque nomen civium 
Komaitorum * * * nunc iiltro repudiatur ac fugitur, nee vile tanien sed etiam 
abominabile poene habetur * * * * Et hinc est ut etiam hi quid ad Barbaros non 
confugiunt, Barbaii tamen esse coguntur, scilicet ut est pars magna Hispanorum, 
et non minima Gallorum * * * * Dq Bagaudis nunc mihi sermo est, que per 
malos indices et cruentos spoliati, afflicti necati, postquam jus Romanae libertatls 
amis erant, etiam honorem Romani nominis perdiderunt * * * * Vocamus ra- 
belles, vocamus perditos quos esse compulimus criminosos. DeGubernat. Dei. 1. 
V. pp. 158, 159. 



OF THE EOMAN EMPIEE. 209 



CHAPTER XXXYI. 

SACK OF ROME BY GENSEEIC, KING OF THE VANDALS. HIS 

NAVAL DEPEEDATIOXS- SUCCESSION OF THE LAST EM- 
PERORS OF THE we:st, MAXIMUS, AVITUS, MAJORIAN, SEV- 
ERUS, ANTHEMIUS, OLYBEIUS, GLYCEEIUS, nepos, augus- 

TULUS. TOTAL EXTINCTION OF THE WESTEEN EMPIRE. 

REIGN OF ODOACEE, THE FIEST BAEBAEIAN KING OF ITALY. 

The loss or desolation of the provinces, from the Ocean 
to the Alps, impaired the glory and greatness of Rome • her 
internal prosperity was irretrievably destroyed by the sepa- 
ration of Africa. The rajDacious Vandals confiscated the 
patrimonial estates of the senators, and intercepted the 
regular subsidies, which relieved the poverty and. encour- 
aged the idleness of the plebeians. The distress of the 
Romans was soon aggravated by an unexpected attack; 
and the province, so long cultivated for their use by indus- 
trious and obedient subjects, was armed against them by an 
ambitious Barbarian. The Vandals and Alani, who followed 
the successful standard of Genseric, had acquired a rich and 
fertile territory, which stretched along the coast above ninety 
days' journey from Tangier to Tripoli; but their narrow 
limits were pressed and confined, on either side, by the 
sandy desert and the Mediterranean. The discovery and 
conquest of the Black nations, that might dwell beneath the 
torrid zone, could not tempt the rational ambition of Gen- 
seric; but he east his eyes towards the sea; he resolved to 
create a naval power, and his bold resolution was executed 
with steady and activx* perseverance. The woods of Mount 
Atlas afforded an inexhaustible nursery of timber: his new 
subjects were skilled in the arts of navigation and ship- 
building; he animated his daring Vandals to embrace a 
mode of warfare which would render every maritime coun- 
try accessible to their' arms ; the Moors and Africans were 
allured by the hopes of plunder; and, after an interval of 
SIX centuries, the fleets that issued from the ])ort of Carthage 
again claimed the empire of the Mediterranean. The suc- 
cess of the Vandals, the conquest of Sicily, the sack of 
Palermo, and the frequent descents on the coast of Lucania, 
Vol, IIL— 14 



210 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

awakened and alarmed the mother of Yalentinian, and the 
sister of Theodosius. Alliances were formed ; and arma- 
ments, expensive and ineffectual, were prep.nred, for the 
destruction of the common enemy ; who reserved his cour- 
age to encounter those dangers which his policy could not 
prevent or elude. The designs of the Roman government 
were repeatedly baffled by Ins nrtful dehiys, ambiguous 
promises, and apparent concessions ; and the interposition 
of his formidable confedei-ate, the king of the Huns, recalled 
the emperors from the conquest of Africa to the care of 
their domestic safety. The revolutions of the palace, which 
left the Western empire without a defender, and without a 
lawful prince, dispelled the apprehensions, and stimulated 
the avarice, of Genseric. He immediately equipped a nu- 
merous fleet of Vandals and Moors, and cast anchor at the 
mouth of the Tiber, about three months after the death of 
Valentinian, and the elevation of Maximus to the Imperial 
throne. 

The private life of the senator Petronius Maximus^ was 
often alleged as a rare example of human felicity. His 
birth was noble and illustrious, since he descended from the 
Anician family; his dignity was supported by an adequate 
patrimony in land and money; and these advantages of 
fortune were accompanied with liberal arts and decent 
manners, which adorn or imitate the inestimable gifts of 
genius and virtue. The luxury of his palace and table was 
hospitable and elegant. Whenever Maximus appeared in 
public, he was surrounded by a train of grateful and obse- 
quious clients; ^ and it is possible that among these clients, 
he might deserve and possess some real friends. Ilis merit 
was rewarded by the favor of the prince and senate : he 
thrice exercised the office of Praetorian prfefect of Italy; he 
was twice invested with the consulshij), and he obtained the 
rank of patrician. These civil honors were not incompati- 
ble with the enjoyment of leisure and tranquillity; Ins 
hours, according to the demands of pleasure or reason, were 
accurately distributed by a water-clock ; and this aA'arice of 
time may be allowed to prove the sense Avliich Maximus 
entertained of his own happiness. 'The injury which he 

' Sidonius Apolliiiaris composed tlie thirteenth epistle of tbe second book, io 
refute the paradox of his friend Serranus, who entertained a sintrniar, though 
generous, enthusiasm for the deceased emperor. This epistle, with some indul- 
gence, may claim the praise of an elegant composition ; and it throws much 
light on the character of ]\!aximus. 

2 Clientum, pra'via, podisequn. circiimfiipa, populositas, is tlie train which 
Sidonius himself (1. i. epist. ii) assigns to another senator of consular Wiuk. 



OF THE ROMAX EMPIRE. 211 

received from the emperor Yalentinian appears to excuse 
the most bloody revenge. Yet a philosopher might have 
reliected, that, if the resistance of his wife had been sincere, 
her chastity Avas still inviolate, and that it could never be 
restored if she had consented to tlie will of the adulterer. 
A ])atriot would have hesitated before he plunged himself 
and his country into those inevitable calamities which must 
follow the extinction of the royal house of Theodosius. The 
imprudent Maxiinus disregarded these salutary considera- 
tions; he gratified his resentment and ambition; he saw 
the bleeding corpse of Valentinian at his feet; and he heard 
himself saluted Emperor by the unanimous voice of the 
senate and people. But the day of liis inauguration was 
the last day of his happiness. He was imprisoned (such is 
the lively expression of Sldonius) in the palace ; and after 
passing a sleepless night, he siglied tliat he iiad attained the 
summit of his wishes, and aspired only to descend from the 
dangerous elevation. Op])ressed by the weight of the dia- 
dem, ho communicated his anxious thoughts to his friend 
and qurestor Fulgentius ; and when he looked back with 
unavailing regret on the secure pleasures of liis former life, 
the emperor exclaimed, '' O fortunate Damocles,^ thy reign 
began and ended with the same dinner;" a well-known allu- 
sion, wliicli Fulgentius afterwards repeated as an instructive 
lesson for princes and subjects. 

The reign of Maxim us continued about three months. 
Ilis hours, of which he had lost the command, were dis- 
turbed by remorse, or guilt, or terror, and his throne was 
shaken by the seditions of the soldiers, the people, and the 
confederate Barbarians. The marriage of his son Palladius 
witli the eldest daughter of the late emperor, might tend to 
establish the hereditary succession of his family ; but the 
violence which he offered to the empress Eudoxia, could 
proceed only from the blind impulse of lust or revenge. 
Ilis own wife, the cause of these tragic events, had been 
seasonably removed by death ; and the widow of Yalen- 
tinian was compelled to violate her decent mourning, per- 
haps Jier real grief, and to submit to the embraces of a pre- 

• Distrlctus ensis cui siiper impiS, 

Cervice pendet, iion Siculce dapea 
Dulcem elaborabunt saporem : 
Nou avium citharfeque cautus 
Somuum reduceiit. 

Ilorat, Carm. iii. 1. 
Sicloniua concludes his letter with the story of Damocles which Cicero (Tusculan, 
v- 20, 21) had so ininutably told. 



212 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

sumptuous usurper, whom she suspected as the assassin of 
her deceased husband. These suspicions were soon justified 
by the indiscreet confession of Maximus himself; and he 
wantonly provoked the hatred of his reluctant bride, who 
was still conscious that she was descended from a line of 
emperors. From the East, however, Eudoxia could not 
liope to obtain any effectual assistance ; her father and her 
aunt Pulcheria were dead; her motlier languislied at Jeru- 
salem in disgrace and exile ; and the sceptre of Constantinople 
Avas in the hands of a stranger. She directed her eyes to- 
wards Carthage ; secretly implored the aid of the king of 
the Vandals ; and persuaded Genseric to improve the fair 
opportunity of disguising his rapacious designs by the 
specious names of honor, justice, and compassion.^ What- 
ever abilities Maximus might have shown in a subordinate 
station, he was found incapable of administering an em- 
pire ; and though he might easily have been informed of the 
naval preparations which were made on the opposite shores 
of Africa, he expected with supine indifference the approach 
of the enemy, without adopting any measures of defence, of 
negotiation, or of a timely retreat. When the Vandals dis- 
embarked at the mouth of the Tiber, the emperor was sud- 
denly roused from his lethargy by the clamors of a trembling 
and exasperated multitude. The only hope which presented 
itself to his astonished mind was that of a precipitate flight, 
and he exhorted the senators to imitate the example of their 
prince. But no sooner did Maximus appear in tlie streets, 
than he was assaulted by a shower of stones ; a Roman, or 
a Burgundian soldier, claimed the honor of the first wound ; 
his mangled body was ignominiously cast into the Tiber ; 
the Roman people rejoiced in the punishment which they 
had inflicted on the author of the public calamities ; and 
the domestics of Eudoxia signalized their zeal in the service 
of their mistress.^ 

On the third day after the tumult, Genseric boldly ad- 
vanced from the port of Ostia to the gates of the defenceless 

< Notwithstanding the evidence of Prooopins, Evagrius, Idatins, Marcelliinis, 
&c., the learned Muratori (Annali d'ltalia, toni. iv. p. 249) doubts the reality of 
this invitation, and observes, with great truth, "ISou si puo dir quanto sia facile 
il popolo a sognare e spaeciar voci false." But his argument, from the interval 
of time and place, is extremely feeble. The figs which, grew near Carthage were 
produced to the senate of Kome on the third day, 

5 Infidoque tibi Burgundio ductu 

Extorquet trepidus inactandi principis iras. 

Sidon. in Panegyr. Avit. 442. 

A remarkable line, which insinuates that Home and Maximus were betrayed by 
their Burgundian mercenaries. 



OF THE ROMAX EMPIKE. 213 

city. Instead of a sally of the Roman youth, llierc issued 
from the gates an unarmed and vcneralile ])roces.sion of the 
bishop at the head of liis clergy.^ The fearless spirit of 
Leo, his authority and eloquence, again mitigated the fierce- 
ness of a Barbarian conqueror ; the king of the Vandals 
promised to spare tiie unresisting -multitude, to protect the 
buildings from fire, and to exempt the captives from tor- 
ture ; and although such orders were neither seriously given, 
nor strictly obeyed, the mediation of Leo was glorious to 
himself, and in some degree beneficial to his country. But 
Rome and its inhabitants Avere delivered to the licentious- 
ness of the Vandals and Moors, Avhose blind passions re- 
venged the injuiies of Carthage. The pillage lasted four- 
teen days and nights ; and all that yet remained of public 
or private wealth, of sacred or profane treasure, was dili- 
gently transported to the vessels of Genseric. Among the 
spoils, the splendid relics of two temples, or rather of two 
religions, exhibited a memorable example of the vicissitudes 
of human and divine thinofs. Since the abolition of Pasran- 
ism, the Capitol had been violated and abandoned; yet the 
statues of the gods and heroes were still respected, and the 
curious roof of gilt bronze was reserved for the rapacious 
hands of GensericJ The holy instruments of the Jewish 
worship,^ the gold table, and the gold candlestick with seven 
branches, originally framed according to the particular in- 
structions of God himself, and which Avere placed in the 
sanctuary of his temple, had been ostentatiously displayed 
to the Roman i)eople in the trium])h of Titus. They were 
afterwards deposited in the temple of Peace ; and at the 
end of four hundred years, the spoils of Jerusalem were 
transferred from Rome to Carthage, by a Barbarian who 
derived his oric^in from the shores of the Baltic. These 
ancient monuments might attract the notice of curiosity, as 
well as of avarice. But the Christian churches, enriched 

8 The apparent success of Pope Leo may be justified by Prosper, and tbe ///s- 
torin Miscel/an. ; but the improbable notion of Baronius (A.D. 455, Ko. l.J) that 
Genseric spared tlie three apostolical churches, is not countenanced even by the 
doubtful testimony of the LUm-t Pontijicalis. 

'■' The profusion of Catalus, tbe first who giltthe roof of the Capitol, was not uni- 
vei-sally approved (Plin, Hist. Natur. xxxiii. \X); l)ut it was far exceeded by the 
emperor's, and the external gilding of the temple cost Domitian 12,000 talents 
(2,400,000/.). The expressions of Claudian and Kutilius {hire inefal/t. (pmufu * * * 
fasiif/ia astris, and covfiniduntquevagos delubra micantia 7'/.sw.';( manifestly prove 
that tliis splendid covering was not removed either by thcChrisiians or the Goths 
(see Donatus, Koma Antiqua, 1. ii. c. G, p. 125). It should seem that the loof of 
the Capitol was decorated with gilt statues, and chariots drawn by foxir hor^es. 

s Tbe curious reader may consult the learned and accurate treatise of Hadrian 
Belaud, de Spoiiis Templi Heirosolymitani in Arcu Titiano Komte conspicuis, in 
12mo. Trajecti ad Khenum, 1716. 



214 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

and adorned by the prevailing superstition of the times 
afforded more plentiful materials for sacrilege ; and the 
pious liberality of Pope Leo, who melted six silver a ases, 
the gift of Constantine, each of a hundred pounds weight, is 
an evidence of the damage which he attempted to repair. 
In the forty-five years that had elapsed since the Gothic in- 
vasion, the pomp and luxury of Rome were in some measure 
restored ; and it was difficult either to esca]ie, or to satisfy, 
the avarice of a conqueror, Avho ])ossessed leisure to collect, 
and ships to transport, the wealth of the cajntal. Tlie Im- 
perial ornaments of the palace, the magnificent furniture 
and wardrobe, the sideboards of massy plate, were accumu- 
lated with disorderly rapine ; the gold and silver amounted 
to several thousand talents; yet even the brass and copj^er 
were laboriously removed. Eudoxia herself, who advanced 
to meet her friend and deliverer, soon bewailed the impru- 
dence of her own conduct. She was rudely stripped of her 
jewels ; and the unfortunate empress, with lier two daugh- 
ters, the only surviving remains of the great Theodosius, 
was compelled, as a captive, to follow the haughty Vandal ; 
who immediately hoisted sail, and returned with a prosper- 
ous navigation to the port of Carthage.^ Many thousand 
Komans of both sexes, chosen for some useful or agreeable 
qualifications, reluctantly embarked on board the fleet of 
Genseric ; and their distress was aggravated by the unfeeling 
Barbarians, who, in the division of the, booty, separated the 
wives from their husbands, and the children from their 
parents. The charity of Deogratias, bishop of Carthage,^° 
was their only consolation and support. He generously 
sold the gold and silver i)late of the church to purchase the 
freedom of some, to alleviate the slavery of others, and to 
assist the w\ants and infirmities of a caj)tive multitude, whose 
health was impaired by the hardships which they had suf- 
fered in their passage from Italy to Africa. By his order, 
two spacious churches were converted into hospitals; the 
sick were distributed in convenient beds, and liberally su}> 
plied with food and medicines ; and the aged prelate re- 
peated his visits both in the day and night, with an assiduity 

8 The vessel which transported the relics of the Capitol was the only one of 
the whole fleet that sutfered i^hipwreck. If a bigoted sophist, a Pagan bigot, had 
mentioned the accident, he might have rejoiced, that this cargo of sacrilege was 
lost in the sea. * 

1" See Victor Vitensis, de Persecut. Vandal. 1. i. c. 8, pp. 11, 12, edit. Ilninaft. 
Dcogratius governed the cluxrch of Carthage only tlnve years, if lie had not 
been privately buried, his corpse would have been torn piecemeal by the mad 
devotion of the people- 



OF THE KOMAN EMPIRE. . 215 

that surpassed his strength, and a tender sympatliy which 
enhanced the value of his services. Compare this scene 
with the field of Canna) ; and judge between Hannibal and 
the successor of St. Cyprian.^^ 

The deaths of Aetius and Vnlerjtinian had relaxed tlie 
ties which held the Barbarians of Gaul in ])eace and sub- 
ordination. The sea-coast Avas infested by the Saxons ; the 
Alemanni and the Franks adAanced from the Rhine to the 
Seine ; and the ambition of the Goths seemed to meditate 
more extensive and ])ei-mnnent conquests. The emperor 
JMaximus relieved himself, by a judicious choice, from the 
weight of these distant cares; he silenced the solicitations 
of his friends, listened to the voice of fame, and promoted a 
stranger to the general command of the forces in Gaul. 
Avitus,^^ the stranger, whose merit was so nobly rewarded, 
descended from a wealthy and honorable family in the 
diocese of Auvergne. The convulsions of the times urged 
him to embrace, with the same ardor, the civil and military 
professions : and the indefatigable youth blended the studies 
of literature and jurispru<lence with the exercise of arms 
and hunting. Thirty years of his life were laudably s})ent 
in the public service ; he alternately displayed his talents in 
war and negotiation ; and the soldier of Aetius, after execu- 
ting the most important embassies, was raised to the station 
of Pra3toi'ian prasfect of Gaul. Either the merit of Avitus 
excited envy, or his moderation was desirous of repose, since 
he calmly retired to an estate, w^hich he possessed in the 
neighborhood of Clermont. A coj)ious stream, issuing from 
the mountain, and falling headlong in many a loud and 
foaming cascade, discharged its waters into a lake about two 
miles in length, and the villa was pleasantly seated on the 
margin of the lake. The baths, the porticos, the summer 
and winter a])artments, wei-e adapted to the pur})oses of 
luxury and use ; and the adjacent country afforded the vari- 
ous prospects of woods, pastures, and meadows. ^^ In this 
retreat, where Avitus amused his leisure with books, rural 

1^ The general evider.ce for the death of Maximus, and the sack of Rome by 
the Vandals, is comprised in Sidonius (Panegyr. Avit. 411-450), Procopius (de 
Bell. Vandal. 1. i. c. 4, 5, pp. 188, Ih'J, and 1. ii. c 9, p. 255), Evagrius (1. ii. c. 7), 
Jornandes (de Keb. Geticis, c. 45, p. G77), and the Chronicles of Idatius, Prosper, 
]Marcellinnff, and Theophanes, uiuler the proper year. 

^- The piivate life and elevatioii of Avitus must be deduced, with becoming 
suspicion, from the panegyric pronounced by Sidonius Apollinaiis, his subject, 
and his son-in-law. 

i'5 After the example of the youiiger Pliny, Si<lonins (1. ii. c. 2) has labored the 
flond, prolix, and obscure description of liis villa, wliich bore ihti mxvnG (Avitn- 
ciim), und liad been the property of Avitus. The precise situation is not ascer- 
tained. Consult, however, the notes of Savaron and Sinnond. 



216 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

sports, the practice of husbandry, and the society of Lis 
friends," he received tlie Imperial diploma, which consti- 
tuted him master-general of the cavalry and infantry of 
Gaul. He assumed the military command ; the Barbarians 
suspended their fury; and whatever means he might employ, 
whatever concessions he might be forced to make, the people 
enjoyed the benefits of actual tranquillity. But the fate of 
Gaul depended on the Visigoths ; and the Roman general, 
less attentive to his dignity than to the public interest, did 
not disdain to visit Toulouse in the character of an ambas- 
sador. He was received with courteous hospitality by 
Theodoric, the king of the Goths ; but while Avitus laid the 
foundations of a solid alliance with that powerful nation, he 
Avas astonished by the intelligence that the emperor JMaximus 
was slain, and that Rome had been pillaged by the Vandals. 
A vacant throne, which he might ascend without guilt or 
danger, tempted his ambition ; ^^ and the Visigoths were 
easily persuaded to support liis claim by their irresistible 
suffrage. They loved the person of Avitus ; they respected 
his virtues; and they were not insensible of the advantage, 
as well as honor, of giving an emperor to the West. The 
season was now approaching, in which the annual assembly 
of the seven provinces was held at Aries ; their delibera- 
tions might perhaps be influenced by the presence of Theo- 
doric and his martial brothers ; but their choice would 
naturally incline to the most illustrious of their countrymen. 
Avitus, after a decent resistance, rccepted the Imperial 
diadem from the representatives of Gaul ; and his election 
was ratified by the acclamations of the Barbarians and pro- 
vincials. The formal consent of Marcian, emperor of the 
East, was solicited and obtained : but the senate, Rome, and 
Italy, though humbled by their recent calamities, submitted 
with a secret murmur to the presumption of the Gallic 
usurper. 

Theodoric, to whom Avitus was indebted for the purple, 
had acquired the Gothic sceptre by the murder of his elder 

!•* Ridoiiiiis (1. li. epist. 9) has <1es(>nbed the coniitrj' life of the Gallic nobles. 
in M visit wiiioli lie made to his friends, whose estates were in the neighboihood 
of Nisnies. The morning hours were spent in the ypJiraristeriiim, or tennis-court; 
or in the library, wliicli was furnished with Laf'ni authors, profane and religious; 
the former for the men, the latter for the ladies. The table was twice 
served, at dinner and snpper, with hot mtat (boiled and roast) and wine. During 
the intennediare time, tlie company slept, took the air on horseback, and used 
the v.arm bath. 

'•■' Seventy lines of paneg^'rio. (505-575) which describe tlie imnortnnity of Theo- 
doric and of (4:ml. struggling to overcome th;' niod< st rclucwuu e of A viti'.s. are 
Dlown away by three words of an honest hisloriaii. Kouiaiium a;ut<i'i;e^lmperiuin 
(Greg. Turon. I. ii. c. 11, in torn. ii. p. 108). 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIKE. 217 

brother Torismond ; and he justified this atrocious deed by 
the design which his predecessor had formed of vioLatingliis 
alliance with the empire.-'*' Such a crime might not be in- 
compatible Avith the virtues of a Barbarian ; but the man- 
ners of Theodoric were gentle and humane ; and ])osteri(y 
may contemplate without tei'ror the original pictui-e of a 
Gothic king, whom Sidonius had intimately observed, in the 
liours of peace and of social intercourse. In an epistle, 
dated from the court of Toulouse, the orator satisfies 
tliG curiosity of one of his friends, in the following 
description:^^ "I^y the majesty of his appearance, Theo- 
doric woidd command the I'cspect of those who are 
ignorant of his merit ; and although he is born a prince, his 
merit Avould dignify a private station. He is of a middle 
stature, his body appears rather plump than fat, and in his 
well-pro])ortionGd limbs agility is united with muscular 
strength.-'^ It" you examine his countenance, you Avill dis- 
tinguish a high forehead, large shaggy eyebrows, an aquiline 
nose, thin lips, a regular set of white teeth, and a fair com- 
plexion, that blushes more frequently from modesty tlian 
from anger. The ordinary distribution of his time, as far 
as it is exposed to the public view, may be concisely repre- 
sented. Before daybreak, he repairs, with a small train, to 
liis domestic chapel, where the service is performed by the 
Arian clergy ; but those who presume to interpret his secret 
sentiments, consider this assiduous devotion as the effect of 
habit and policy. The rest of the morning is employed m 
the administration of his kingdom. His chair is surrounded 
by some military officers of decent aspect and behavior : the 
noisy croAvd of his Barbarian guards occupies the hail of 
audience ; but they are not permitted to stand within the 
veils or curtains that conceal the council-chamber from 
vulgar eyes. The ambassadors of the nations are succes- 
sivclv introduced : Theodoric listens with attention, answers 
them with discreet brevity, and either announces or deLays, 

1'' Isidore, archbishop of Seville, who was himself of the blood royal of the 
Gothj, ackiiowledvjc:, and almost jusliiics (.list. Goth. p. 718), the crime which 
their silave Jornaudc i had basely dissembled (c. 4.3, p. G73). 

17^ Thiii elaborate description (1. i. ep. ii. pp. 2-7) was dictated by some political 
motive. _ It v.as dcsi.'^ned for the public eye, and had been shown by the fricjidr; 
of Sidonius, before it was inserted in the collection of hisepislles. The llr.'t 
book Avas published separately. See Tillemont, M^moires Eccles. torn. xvi. 
p. 2'6i. 

'^ I have suppressed, in this portrait of Theodoric, pevernl minute circum- 
stances, and technical plirases, v/hich could be tolerable, or indeed intcllif-i])lc, 
to those only wbo, li':o the contemporaries of Sidonius, liad frequented llic m;u- 
kots where naked slaves v/ere exposed to sale (Dubos, lliiJt. Critique, toni. i. p. 
40i). 



218 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

according to the nature of their business, his final resolution. 
About eight (the second hour) he rises from liis throne, and 
visits eitlier his treasury or his stables. If he chooses to 
luuit, or at least to exercise himself on horseback, his bow is 
carried by a favorite youtli ; but when the game is marked, 
lie bends it with his own hand, and seldom misses the object 
of his aim : as- a king, he disdains to bear arms in such 
ignoble warfare ; but as a soldier, he would blush to accept 
any military service which he could perform himself. On 
common days, his dinner is not different from the repast of 
a private citizen ; but every Saturday, many honorable 
guests are invited to the royal table, which, on these occa- 
sions, is served with the elegance of Greece, the plenty of 
Gaul, and the order and diligence of Italy.^^ The gold or 
sih'cr plate is less remarkable for its weight than for the 
brightness and curious workmanship : the taste is gratified 
without the help of foreign and costly luxury ; the size and 
number of the cu])S of Avine are regulated with a strict 
regard to the laws of temperance ; and the respectful silence 
that prevails, is interrupted only by gra^'e and instructive 
conversation. After dinner, Theodoric sometimes indulcres 
himself in a short slumber ; and as soon as he wakes, he 
calls for the dice and tables, encourages his friends to forget 
the royal majesty, and is delighted when they freely express 
the passions which are excited by the incidents of play. 
At this game, which he loves as the image of war, he alter- 
nately displays his eagerness, his skill, his patience, and his 
cheerful temper. II he loses, he laughs : he is modest and 
silent if he wins. Yet, notwithstanding this seeming indif- 
ference, his courtiers choose to solicit any favor in the 
moments of victory ; and I myself, in my ai^plications to 
the king, have derived some benefit from mylosses.^^ About 
the ninth hour (three o'clock) the tide of business again 
returns, and flows incessantly till after sunset, Avhen the 
signal of the royal supper dismisses the weary crowd of 
su])pliants and pleaders. At the supper, a more familiar 
repast, buffoons and prtntomimes are sometimes introduced, 
to divert, not to offend, the company, by their ridiculous 
wit: but female singers, and the soft, effeminate modes of 
music, are severely banished, and such martial tunes as 

'^ Vidc.a- il'i clcgnjitiiim Cr.i'cav.i, nbuiulaiiliam Gallicaiinm ; celeritatem 
Ital.'un; publicam pompam, privalara djli^ijcnliani. legiaiu disciplinam. 

-'Tunc cli.'in op;o aliquid obscci'aturrs foJifiter A'incor, ct mihi Inbiila pent 
ut rnusa sdI vciuT. SMoMi;ir- oT .Vitvovtiio v.-p". not a riP.biect of Tbcodorif^ ; bnt lie 
niiglit be compelled to BoHc-it either justice cr favor at tlie court of Toulouse. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 219 

animate the soul to deeds of valor are alone grateful to the 
ear of Tlieodoric. He retires from table ; and the nocturnal 
guards are immediately posted at tlie enti-ance of the 
treasury, the palace, and tlie private apartments." 

When the king of the Visigoths encouraged Avitus to 
assume the purple, lie offered his person and his forces, as 
a faithful soldier of tlie republic.^^ The exi)loits of Theo- 
doric soon convinced the world that he had not degenerated 
from the warlike virtues of his ancestors. After the es- 
tablishment of the Goths in Aquitain, and the passage of 
the Vandals into Africa, the Suevi, who had fixed their 
kingdom in Gallicia, asi)ired to the conquest of S])ain, and 
threatened to extinc^uish the feeble remams of the Koman 
dominion. The provincials of Carthagena and Tarragona, 
afflicted by a hostile invasion, represented their injuries 
and their apprehensions. Count Fronto was despatched, 
in the name of the emperor Avitus, with advantageous 
offers of peace and alliance ; and Theodoric interposed his 
weighty mediation, to declare, that, unless his brother-in- 
law, the king of the Suevi, immediately retired, he should 
be obliged to arm in the cause of justice and of Rome. 
" Tell him," re))lied the haughty Rechiarius, " that I de- 
spise his friendship and his arms ; but that I shall soon try 
whether he will dare to expect my arrival under the walls 
of Toulouse." Such a challenge urged Theodoric to pre- 
vent the bold designs of his enemy'; he passed the Pyrenees 
at the head of the Visigoths : the Franks and Burgundians 
served under his standard ; and though he professed himself 
the dutiful servant of Avitus, he privately stipulated, for 
himself and his successors, the absolute possession of liis 
Spanish conquests. The two armies, or rather the two 
nations, encountered each other on the banks of the River 
Urbicus, about twelve miles from Astorga; and the decisive 
victory of the Goths aj)peared for a while to have extirpated 
the name and kingdom of the Suevi. From the field of 
battle Theodoric advanced to Braga, their metropolis, 
which still retained the s])lendid vestiges of its ancient com- 
merce and dignity.-^ His entrance was not polluted with 

-1 Theodoric liimself liad given a solemn and voluntary promise of lidelity, 
wliicli was understood both in Gaul and Spain. 

Romfn sum, te duce, Amicus, 

Principe te, Miles. 

Sidon. Panegyr. Avit. 511. 
^ Quffifjuc sinft pelagi jaclat se Brarara dives. 

Aufeon. dc (lai-is Urbibns, p. 245. 
From the design of the king of the Suevi, it is evident that the navigation from 



220 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

blood; and the Gotlis respected tlie chastity of their female 
captives, more especially of the consecrated virgins : but 
the greatest part of the clero^y and people were made slaves, 
and even the churches and altars were confounded in the 
universal pillage. The nnfortnnate king of the Suevi had 
escaped to one of the ports of the ocean ; but the obstinacy 
of the winds opposed his flight: he was delivered to his 
implacable rival ; and liechiarius, who neither desired nor 
expected mercy, received, Avith manly constancy, the death 
which he would probably have inflicted. After this bloody 
sacrifice to policy or resentment, Theocloric carried his vic- 
torious arms as far as Merida, the principal town of Lusi- 
tania, without meeting any resistance, except from the 
miraculous powers of St. Eulalia ; but he was stopped in 
the full career of success, and recalled from Spain before he 
could provide for the security of his conquests. In his re- 
treat towards the Pyrenees, he revenged his disappointment 
on the country through which he passed ; and, in the sack 
of Polientia and Astorga, he showed himself a faithless ally, 
as well as a cruel enemy. Whilst the king of the Visigoths 
fought and vanquished in the name of Avitus, the reign of 
Avitus had expired : and both the honor and the interest 
of Theodoric Avere deeply wounded by the disgrace of a 
friend, whom he had seated on the throne of the Western 
empire.^^ 

The pressing solicitations of the senate and people per- 
suaded the emperor Avitus to fix his residence at Rome, 
and to accept the consulship for the ensuing year. On the 
first day of January, his son-in-law, Sidonius ApoUinaris, 
celebrated his praises in a panegyric of six hundred verses ; 
but this composition, though it was rewarded with a brass 
statue,^^ seems to contain a very moderate proportion, eitlier 
of genius or of truth. The poet, if we may degrade that 
sacred name, exaggerates the merit of a sovereign and a 
father ; and his prophecy of a long and glorious reign was 
soon contradicted by the event. Avitus, at a time when 
the Imperial dignity was reduced to a preeminence of toil 
and danger, indulged himself in the pleasures of Italian 

tlie ports of Gallicia to the Mediterranean -was known and praetised. The shij s 
of Bracara, or J5raga, cautiously steered along the coast, without daring to lose 
themselves in the Atlantic. 

2' This Suevie war is the most authentic part of the Cliroi icle of TdatiuF, who, 
as hishop of Iria Flavia, was himself a spectat')r and a sufferer Jornandes (c. 
44, pp 075, G7(), G77) lias expatiated, with ])]easure, on tlu^ Gothic victory. 

-* In oiie of the porticos or galleries helonging to Trajan's library, among 
the statues of famous writers and orators. Sidon. ApoU. L ix, epist. 10, p. 284. 
Carm. viii. p. 300. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 



221 



luxury ; aire had not extinG^iiishecl his amorous incHnatioris ; 
and lie is accused of insulting, with indiscreet and ungen- 
erous raillery, tlie husbanils whose wives he hu I seduced or 
violated.-^^ But the Romans were not inclined either to ex- 
cuse his faults or to acknowledge his virtues. Tlie several 
parts of the empire became every day more alienated from 
each other; and the stranger of Gaul was the object of 
popular hatred and contempt. The senate asserted their 
legitimate claim in the election of an emperor; and their 
authority, which had been originally derived from the old 
constitution, was again fortified by tlie actual weakness of a 
declining monarchy. Yet even such a monarchy might 
have resisted the votes of an unarmed senate, if their dis- 
content had not been supported, or perhaps intlamed, by 
the Count Ricimer, one of the principal commanders of the 
Barbarian troops, who formed the nlilitary defence of Italy. 
The daughter of Wallia, king of the Visigoths, was the 
mother of Ricimer ; but lie was descended, on the father's 
side, from the nation of the Suevi :-^ his pride or patriotism 
might be exasperated by the misfortunes of his countrymen, 
and he obeyed, with reluctance, an emperor in whose ele- 
vation he had not been consulted. His faithful and im])or- 
tant services against the common enemy rendered him still 
more formidable ; ^^ and, after destroying on the coast of 
Corsica a fleet of Vandals, which consisted of sixty galleys, 
Ricimer returned in trium])h with the appellation of the 
Deliverer of Italy. He chose that moment to signify to 
Avitus, that his reign was • at an end; and the feeble em- 
peror, at a distance from his Gothic allies, was compelled, 
after a short and unavailing struggle, to abdicate the purple. 
By the clemency, however, or the contempt, of Ricimer, ^^ 
he was permitted to descend from the throne to the more 
desirable station of bishop of Placentia; but the resentment 
of the senate was still unsatisfied ; and their inflexible se- 
verity pronounced the sentence of his death. He fled tow- 
ards the Alps, with the humble hope, not of arming the 

*■'' Luxuriose agere volens a senatoribus projectus est, is tlie concise exi)res- 
Bion of Gregory of Toms (1. ii. c. xi. in toni. ii. p. 108). An old Chronicle (in toni. 
ii. p. 040) mentions an indecent jest of Avitus, which seems more applicable to 
Rome than to Treves. 

-'■' Sidonius (Panegyr. Anthem, 302, &c.) praises the royal birth of Ricimer, the 
lawful heir, as li« chooses to insinuate, both of the Gothic and Suevic kingdoms. 

2' See the Chronicle of Idatius. Jornandcs (c. xliv, p. (!7r.) styles him. with 
some truth, virum egregium, et pcne tunc in Italia ad exercitum singiilarem. 

■-3 Parcens innocenliai Aviti. is tlie compassionate, but contemptuous, lan- 
guage of Victor Tiinnunensis (in Cliroa. apud. Scaliger Euseb.). In another 
place, he calls him, vir totiiis simplicitatis. This commendation is more humble, 
Vut it is more solid and sincere, than the praises of Sidonius. 



222 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

Visigoths in liis cause, but of securing his person and treas- 
ures in the sanctuary of Juhan, one of the tutelar saints of 
Auvergne.^^ Disease, or the liand of the executioner, ar- 
rested liim on the road ; yet his remains were decently 
transported to Brivas, or Brioude, in his native province, 
and he re})osed at the feet of his holy patron. ^"^ Avitus left 
only one daughter, the wife of Sidonius Apollinaris, who 
inherited the patrimony of his father-in-law ; lamenting, at 
the same time, the disappointment of his public and })rn'ate 
expectations. His resentment prompted him to join, or at 
least to countenance, the measures of a rebellious faction in 
Gaul ; and the poet had contracted some guilt, which it was 
incumbent on him to expiate, by a new tribute of flattery to 
the succeeding em])eror.^^ 

The successor of Avitus presents the welcome discovery 
of a great and heroic chai-acter, such as sometimes arise, in a 
degenerate age, to vindicate the honor of the human species. 
The emperor Majorian has deserved the praises of his con- 
temporaries, and of posterity ; and these praises may be 
strongly expressed in the words of a judicious and disinter- 
ested historian: "That he was gentle to his subjects; that 
he was terrible to his .enemies ; and that he excelled, in 
every virtue, all his predecessors who had reigned over the 
Romans." ^-^ Such a testimony may justify at least the pan- 
egyric of Sidonius ; and we may acquiesce in the assurance, 
that, although the obsequious orator would have flattered, 
with equal zeal, the most woi-thless of princes, the extraor- 
dinary merit of his object confined him, on this occasion, 
within the bounds of truth.^^ Majorian derived his name 

23 He suffered, as it is supposed, in the persecution of Diocletian (Tillemont, 
Mem. Eccles. torn. v. pp. 1^7!», (;9(;). (Jregory of 'J'oun^. liis peculiar votary, has 
dedicated to the \i\oxn of .Julian the Martyr an entire book (de Gloria Martynun, 
1. ii. in Max. Bibliot. Patriun, toni. xi. pp. 8G1-871), in which he relates about lifly 
foolish miracles performed by his relics, 

31^ (ireffory of Tours (1. ii. c. xi. p. IGS) is concise, but correct, in the rcijin of 
his countrymen. The words of Idatius, "cadet imperio, caret et vit;\," seem to 
imply, that the death of Avitus was violent ; but ii must liave been secret, since 
Kva£;rius(l. ii. o. 7) could suppose, that lie «lied of the plague. 

"' After a modest appeal to the examples of his brethren, Virgil and Horace, 
Sidonius honestly confesses the debt, and i)romiscsi)ayment. 

Sic mihi diverso nnper sub Marto cadenti 
Jussisti placido Victor ut esseui animo. 
Serviat ergo tibi servati litigiia jioetai, 
Atquc meie vitai laus tua sit i>rctium. 

Sidon. ApoU. Cann. iv. p. 308. 
See Duhos, Hist. Critique, torn. i. p. 418, c^c. 

^■- The wonls of Procopius deserve to bo transcribed; oStos y«P o Maiop't'o? 

f li/iiTTai'Ta? Tov? TTujTroTe 'I'to/xaicot' jSe/SatriAeuKOTo? WTTfpai.puji' aptrt) Tracrrj ; and after- 
wards. <ii'np TO. jnff ec; toV'? dttt^koou? ^eTpiof yfyofio?, <f>o^e0b? ^e ra f ? Tnv<: TroA'^/uo!'?. 

(de r>ell. Vandal. 1. i- c. 7, p. 194) ; a concise but comprehensive definition of royal 
virtue. 

'ii Tho Panegyric was pronounced at Lyons before the end of the year 458, 



OF THE HO-^IAX EMPIRE. 223 

from his maternal grandfather, ^vlio, in the reign of tlie 
great Theodosiiis, had commanded the troops of the Illy- 
rian frontier. He gave liis daugliter in mari'iage to the 
father of Majorian, a respectable officer, wlio administered 
the revenues of Gaul with skill and integrity ; and gener- 
ously preferred the friendship of Aetius to the tempting 
offer of an insidious court. His son, the future emperor, 
Avho was educated in the profession of arms, displayed, from 
liis eai'ly youth, intrepid courage, premature wisdom, and 
unbounded liberality in a scanty fortune. He followed the 
standard of Aetius, contributed to his success, sliared, and 
sometimes eclipsed, his glory, and at last excited the jeal- , 
ousy of the patrician, or rather of his wife, who forced him 
to retire from the service.^* Majorian, after the death of 
Aetius, was recalled and promoted ; and his intimate con- 
nection with Count Kicimer was the immediate step by 
which he ascended the throne of the Western empire. 
During the vacancy that succeeded the abdication of Avitus, 
the ambitious Barbarian, whose birth excluded him from 
tlie Imperial dignity, governed Italy with the title of Patri- 
cian ; resigned to his friend the conspicuous station of 
master-general of the cavalry and infantry ; and, after an 
interval of some months, consented to the unanimous wish 
of the Romans, whose favor Majorian had solicited by a re- 
cent victory over the Alemanni.^^ He was invested witli 
the purple at Ravenna ; and the epistle which he addressed 
to the senate, will best describe his situation and his senti- 
ments. " Your election, Conscrii)t Fathers! and the ordi- 
nance of the most valiant army, have made me your em- 
peror.^^ ^lay the propitious Deity direct and prosper the 

while the emperor was still consul. It lias more art than pjenius, and more labor 
than art. The ornaments are false or trivial ; the expression is feeble and prolix; 
and Sidonius wants the skill to exhii'ir, the i)rinci))al ligure in a strong and dis- 
tinct light. The private life of Majorian occupies about two hundred lines, 107- 
305. 

3* She pressed his immediate death , and was scarcely satisfied with his disgrace. 
It should seem that Aetius, like Belisarius and Marlborough, was governed by 
his wife ; whose fervent piety, though it might work miiades (Gregor. Turon. 
1. li. c. 7, p. 1(12). was not incompatible with base and sanguinary counsels. 

•^•> The Alemanni bad passed the Rhntian Alps, and were defeated in the Campi 
Canini, or Valley of Bellinzone, through which the Tesin flows, in its descent 
from Mount Adula to the L;igoMaggiore(Cluver. Italia Antiq. torn, i.pp- 100, 101), 
This boasted victory over nine humlred Barbarians (Pauegyr. Majorian. 373, &c.) 
betrays the extreme weakness of Italy. 

30 Imperatorem me faclum, P. C. electionis vestra? arbitrio, et fortissimi exer- 
citfts ordinatione agnoscite (Novell. Majorian. tit. iii. p. .34, ad Calcein. Cod. 
Theodos). Sidonius proclaims the unanimous voice of the empire : — 

Postquam ordine vobls 

Ordo omnis regnum dederat ; plebs, curia, viilen, 
lilt roller/a e.imn\. 38G. 

This language is ancient and constitutional ; and we may observe, that the clergy 
were not yet considered as a distinct order of the state. 



224 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

counsels and events of my administration, to your advan- 
tage and to the public welfare ! For my own part, I did 
not aspire, I have submitted to reign ; nor should I liave 
discharged the obligations of a citizen if I had refused, with 
base and selfish ingratitude, to support the weight of those 
labors, which were imposed by the republic. Assist, there- 
fore, the prince whom you have made, partake the duties 
which you have enjoined, and may our common endeavoi\s 
promote the happiness of an empire, which I have acce])ted 
from your hands. Be assured, that, in our times, justice 
shall resume her ancient vigor, and that virtue shnll be- 
come, not only innocent, but meritorious. Let none, ex- 
cept the authors themselves, be appreliensive of delations^'' 
which, as a subject, I have always condemned, and, as a 
prince, will severely punish. Our own vigilance, and that 
of our father,, the patrician Ricimer, shall regulate all mil- 
itary affairs, and provide for the safet}^ of the Roman 
world, which we have saved from foreign and domestic en- 
emies. ^^ You now understand the maxims of my govern- 
ment; you may confide in the faithful love and sincere as- 
surances of a prince, who has formerly been the comi)anion 
of your life and dangers ; who still glories in the name of 
senator, and who is anxious that you should never repent 
of the judgment which you have pronounced in his favor." 
The emperor, who, amidst the ruins of the Roman world, 
revived the ancient language of law and liberty, Avliicii 
Trajan would not have disclaimed, must have derived those 
generous sentniients from his own heart; since tliey were 
not suggested to his imitation by the customs of his age, or 
the example of his predecessors.^^ 

The ])rivate and public actions of ]\rajorian are very im- 
perfectly known ; but his laws, remarkable for an original 
cast of thought and expression, faithfully represent the 
character of a sovereign who loved jjis ])eople, wlio sympa- 
thized in tlieir distress, who had studied the causes of the 
decline of the empire, and who was capable of aj)p]ying (as 

" Either dflationes, or (I^^lationes, would afford a tolerable reading ; but thero 
is rnucli more yeutie audi^piritin the latier, to which I have therefore given the 
preference- 

3« Ab extenio hoste et a domestica clade libevavlnius : by the latter. Majorian 
must understaiid the tyranny of Avitus ; whose death he consequently avowed 
as a meritorious act. On this occaBion, Sidonius is fearful and obscure ; he de- 
6('rib(^.s the twelve ("npsars, the nations of Africa, &c., that he may escape the 
dantjeroua name of Avitus (.'^O.'S'Snil'). 

^'•* See iho whole edict or eplstlo of Majorian to the senate (Novell, tit. iv. p. 
34). Vet the expression, 7VY/?>»»i 7io.s//»???, beav^ some taint of ihe age, and does 
aot mix kindly with the word respublica, which he frequently repeat*. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE, 225 

far as sv.cl\ reformation was practicable) judicious and ef- 
fectual remedies to the public disorders,'''^ His regulations 
concei-ning the finances manifestly tended to remove, or at 
least to mitigate, the most intolerable grievances, I. From 
the first jjour of liis reign, he was solicitous (F translate his 
own words) to relieve the ?^eary fortunes of the provincials, 
oppressed by the accumulated weight of indictions and su- 
perindictions.^^ With this view, he granted a universal 
amnesty, a final and absolute discharge of all arrears of 
tribute, of all debts, which, under any pretence, the fiscal 
officers might <lemand from the people. This wise derelic- 
tion of obsolete, vexatious, and unprofitable claims, im- 
proved and purified the sources of the public revenue; and 
the subject, who could now look back without despair, 
might labor with hope and gratitude for himself and for his 
country. IL In the assessment and collection of taxes, 
Majorian restored the ordinary jurisdiction of the provin- 
cial magistrates ; and suppressed the extraordinary com- 
missions which had been introduced, in the name of the 
emperor himself, or of the Praetorian praefects. The favor- 
ite servants, who obtained such irregular powers, were in- 
solent in their behavior, and arbitrary in their demands ; 
they affected to despise the subordinate tribunals, and they 
were discontented, if their fees and profits did not twice 
exceed the sum which they condescended to pay into the 
treasury. One instance of their extortion would appear in- 
credible, were it not authenticated by the legislator him- 
self. They exacted the whole payment in gold ; but they 
refused the current coin of the empire, and would accept 
only such ancient pieces* as were stamped with the names 
of Faustina or the Antonincs. The subject, who was un- 
provided with thc^e curious medals, had recourse to the 
expedient of compounding with their rapacious demands; 
or, if he succeeded in the research, his imposition was 
doubled, according to the weight and value of the money 
of former times.^^ III. " The municipal corporations (says 

*<> See tlie laws of Majorian (they are only nine in number, but very long, and 
various) at tbe end of the Tbeodosian Code, Novell. 1. iv. pp. 32-o7. Godefroy ba» 
not given any commentary on these additional pieces. 

■*! Feasas provincialium varii atqiie multiplici tributorum exactione fortunas, 
et extraordinariia liscalium Bolutionum oneribusattritas, &c. Novell. Majorian, 
tit. iv. p. 31. 

*' The learned Greaves (vol. i. pp. 329, 330, 331) has found, by a diligent inquiry, 
that nurci of the Antonines weighed one hundred and eighteen, and those of the 
fifth century only sixty-eight. English grains. Majorian gives currency to all gold 
coin, excepting only the Gallic solidus, from its deficiency, not in the weight, 
but in the standard, 

Vol. III.— 15 



226 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

the emperor), the lesser senates (so antiquity has justly 
styled them), deserve to be considered as the lieart of the 
cities, and the sinews of the republic. And yet so low are 
they now reduced, by the injustice of magistrates and the 
venality of collectors, that many of their members, renounc- 
ing their dignity «ind their country, have taken refuge in 
distant and obscure exile." He urges, and even compels, 
their return to their respective cities ; but he removes the 
gi'ievance which had forced them to desert tlie exei'cise of 
their municipal functions. They are directed, under the 
authority of the provincial magistrates, to resume their 
office of levying the tribute; but, instead of being made re- 
sponsible for tlie Avhole sum assessed on their district, they 
are only required to produce a regular account of the pay- 
ments Avhich they have actually received, and of the de- 
faulters who are still indebted to the public. lY. But Ma- 
jorian was not ignorant that these cor])orate bodies were 
too much inclined to retaliate the injustice and oppression 
which they had suffered ; and he therefore revives the use- 
ful office of the defenders of cities. He exhorts the people 
to elect, in a full and free assembly, some man of discretion 
and integrity, who would dare to assert ttieir privileges, to 
represent their grievances, to protect the poor from the ty- 
ranny of the rich, and to inform the emperor of tlie abuses 
that were committed under the sanction of his name and 
authority. 

The spectator, who casts a mournful view over the ruins 
of ancient Rome, is tempted to accuse the memory of the 
Goths and Vandals, for tlie mischief which they had neither 
leisure, nor power, nor perhaps inclination, to perpetrate. 
The tempest of war might strike some lofty turrets to the 
ground ; but the destruction which undermined the founda- 
tions of those massy fabrics was prosecuted, slowly and si- 
lently, during a period of ten centuries ; and the motives of 
interest, that afterwards operated without shame or control, 
were severely checked by the taste and spirit of the emperor 
Majorian. The decay of the city had gradually impaired 
the value of the public works. The circus and theatres 
might still excite, but they seldom gratified, the desires of 
the people : the temples, Avhich had escaped the zeal of the 
Christians, were no longer inhabited, either by gods or men ; 
the diminished crowds of tlie Romans were lost in the im- 
mense space of their baths and porticos ; and the stately 
libraries and halls of justice became useless to an indolent 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE, 227 

generation, whose repose was seldom disturbed, either by- 
study or business. The monuments of consular, or Imperial, 
greatness were no longer revered, as the immortal glory of 
the capital, they were only esteemed as an inexhaustible 
mme of minerals, cheaper, and more convenient, than the 
distant quarry. Specious petitions were continually ad- 
dressed to the easy magistrates of Rome, which stated the 
want of stones or bricks, for some necessary service : the 
fairest forms of architecture were rudely defaced, for the 
sake of some paltry, or pretended, repairs ; and the de- 
generate Romans, who converted the spoil to their own 
emolument, demolished, with sacrilegious hands, the labors 
of their ancestors. Majorian, who had often sighed over 
the desolation of the city, applied a severe remedy to the 
growing evil.^^ He reserved to the prince and senate the 
sole cognizance of the extreme cases which miglit justify 
the destruction of an ancient edifice ; imposed a fine of fifty 
pounds of gold (two thousand pounds sterling) on every 
magistrate who should presume to grant such illegal and 
scandalous license, and threatened to chastise the criminal 
obedience of their subordinate officers, by a severe whipping, 
and the amputation of both their hands. In the last in- 
stance, the legislator might seem to forget the proportion of 
guilt and punishment ; but his zeal arose from a generous 
principle, and Majorian was anxious to protect the monu- 
ments of those ages, in which he would have desired and de- 
served to live. The emoeror conceived, that it was his in- 
terest to increase the number of his subjects; and that it 
was his duty to guard the purity of the marriage-bed : but 
the means which he employed to accomplish these salutary 
purposes are of an ambiguous, and perhaps exceptionable, 
kind. The pious maids, who consecrated their virginity to 
Christ, were restrained from taking the veil till they had 
reached their fortieth year. Widows under that age were 
compelled to form a second alliance within the term of five 
years, by the forfeiture of half their wealth to their nearest 
relations, or to the state. Unequal marriages were con- 
demned or annulled. The punishment of confiscation and 

*3 The whole edict (Novell. Majorian. tit. vi. p. .'5.5) is curious. " Antiquarum 
cedium dissipatur speciosa constructio ; et utaliqnidreparetur, magna diruuntur. 
Hinc jam occa io nascitur, ut etiam unusquisqiie privatum seditieinm construens, 
per gi-atiam judicum * * * pisesumere de publicis locis necessaria, et traiisferre 
non dubitet," <S:o. With equal zeal, but with less power, Petrarch, in the four- 
teenth century, repeated the same complaints. (Vie de Petrarqiie, torn. i. pp. 
326, 327.) If I prosecute this history, I shall not he unmindful of the decline and 
fall of the city of Rome ; au interesting object, to which my plan was originally 
cooflned. 



228 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

exile was deemed so inadequate to the guilt of adnltery, 
that, if the criminal i-eturned to Italy, he might, by the ex- 
press declaration of Majorian, be slain with impunity .■*"* 

While the emperor Majorian assiduously labored to re- 
store the happiness and virtue of the Romans, he encoun- 
tered the arms of Genseric, from liis character and situation 
their most formidable enemy. A fleet of Vandals and Moors 
landed at the mouth of the Liris, or Garigliano ; but the Im- 
perial troops surprised and attacked the disorderly Bai-ba- 
rians, who were encumbered with the spoils of Campania ; 
they were chased with slaughter to their ships, and their 
leader, the king's brother-in-law, was found in the number 
of the slain."*^ Such vigilance might announce the character 
of the new reign ; but tb.e strictest vigilance, and the most 
numerous forces, were insufiicient to protect the long-ex- 
tended coast of Italy from the depredations of a naval war. 
The public opinion had imposed a nobler and more arduous 
task on the genius of Majorian. Rome expected from him 
alone the restitution of xVfrica ; and the design, which he 
formed, of attacking the Vandals in their new settlements, 
was the result of bold and judicious policy. If the intrepid 
emperor could have infused Ids own spirit into the youth of 
Italy; if he could have revived, in the field of Mars, the 
manly exercises in which he had always surpassed his 
equals ; he might have marched against Genseric at the 
head of a JRonian army. Such a reformation of national 
manners might be embraced by the rising generation ; but 
it is the misfortune of those princes who laboriously sustain 
a declining inonarchy, that, to obtain some immediate ad- 
vantage, or to avert some impending danger, they are forced 
to countenance, and even to multiply, the most pernicious 
a,buses. Majorian, like the weakest of his predecessors, was 
reduced to the disgraceful expedient of substituting Barba- 
rian auxiliaries in the place of his un warlike subjects : and 
his superior abilities could only be displayed in the vigor 
and dexterity with which he wielded a dangerous instru- 
ment, so apt to recoil on the hand that used it. Besides the 
confederates, Avho >vere already engaged in the service of 
the emi)ire, the fame of his liberality and valor attracted the 
nations of the Danube, the Borysthenes, and perhaps of the 

*♦ The emperor chides the lenity of Hogatiaii, consular of Tuscany, in a style 
of acrinjoniouB reproof , wbich sounds almost like jiersoiial resentment (Novell. 
tir. ii. p. 47). The law of ISljijorian, which punished obstinate widows, was 800D 
afterwards repealed by his siucessor Severus iNovell. Sever, tit. i. p. 37). 

^ Sidou. Panegyr. Majorian, 3C*3-440, * 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 229 

Tanais. Many thousands of the bravest subjects of Attila, 
the Gepida3, the Ostrogoths, tlie Kuginns, the Burgundians, 
the Suevi, tlie Alani, assembled in tlie plains of Liguria; 
and their formidable strength was balanced by their mutual 
animosities.^^ They passed the Alps in a severe winter. 
Tlie emperor led the way, on foot, and in com])lete armor; 
sounding, with his long staff, the depth of the ice, or snow, 
and encouraging the Scythians, who complained of the ex- 
treme cold, by the cheerful assurance, that they should be 
satisfied with the heat of Africa. The citizens of Lyons had 
presumed to shut their gates; they soon implored, and ex- 
perienced, the clemency of Majorian. lie vanquished Theo- 
doric in the field ; and admitted to his friendship and alli- 
ance a king whom he had found not unworthy of his arms. 
The beneficial, though precarious, reunion of the greater 
part of Gaul and S])ain, was the effect of persuasion, as Avell 
as of force ;^^ and the independent Bagauda3, who had es- 
caped, or resisted, the oppression of former reigns, were 
disposed to confide in the virtues of Majorian. His camp 
was filled with Barbarian allies; his throne Avas supported 
by the zeal of an affectionate people ; but the emperor had 
foreseen, that it was impossible, without a maritime power, 
to achieve the conquest of Africa. In the first Pjinic Avar, 
the republic liad exerted such incredible diligence, that, 
Avithin sixty days after the first stroke of the axe had been 
given in the forest, a fleet of one hundred and sixty galleys 
proudly rode at anchor in the sea.^^ Under circumstances 
much less favorable, Majorian equalled the spirit and perse- 
verance of the ancient Romans. The woods of the Apen- 
nines were felled ; the arsenals and manufactures of Ravenna 
and Misenum Avere restored ; Italy and Gaul vied Avith each 
other in liberal contributions to the publi(5 service; and tlie 
Imperial navy of three hundred large galleys, Avith an ade- 
quate ]n'oportion of transports and smaller vessels, Avas col- 
lected in the secure and capacious harbor of Carthagena in 

<*5 The review of the army, and passage of the Alps, cont.ain the most tolerable 
passages of llie Panegyric {H{)-ry')2). M. de Buat (Hist, des Peuples. &.C., torn, 
viii. pp. 49-5-3) is a more satisfactory commentator, than either Savai'ou or 
Sirmond. 

*7 Td ixkv ottXoi? to. 6e A0701?, is the just and forr ible distinction of Prisons (Ex- 
cerpt. Lesrat, p. 42), in a short fragment, which thrown mnch light on the liistory 
of Majorian. Jornandes has suppressed the difeat aiid alliance of the AMsigoths, 
which were solemnly proclaimed in Gallicia ; and arc marked in the Chronicle 
of Idalius. 

^3 FloruR, 1. ii. c. 2. lie amuses hi-THself with the p'>f-tical fancv, that the trees 
had been transformed into ships ; and indeed the wlK>le trausactiuu, as it is re- 
lated in the first book of Polybius, deviates too much from the probable course 
of human events. 



230 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

Spain.^^ The intrepid countenance of Majorian animated 
his troops Avith a confidence of victory; and, if Ave might 
credit the historian Procopius, liis courage sometimes hur- 
ried him beyond the bounds of prudence. Anxious to ex- 
plore, with his OAvn eyes, the state of the Y&ndals, he ven- 
tured, after disguising the color of his hair, to AJsit Carthage, 
in the character of his OAvn ambassador : and Genseric was 
afterAvards mortified by the discoA^ery, tliat he had enter- 
tained and dismissed the emperor of the Romans. Such an 
anecdote may be rejected as an improbable fiction ; but it is 
a fiction Avhich Avould not haA^e been imagined, unless in the 
life of a hero.^^ 

Without the help of a personal interview, Genseric Avas 
sufiiciently acquainted Avith the genius and designs of his 
adversary. He practised his customary arts of fraud and 
delay, but he practised them Avithout success. His applica- 
tions for peace became each hour more submissiA'e, and per- 
haps more sincere ; but the inflexible Majorian had adopted 
the ancient maxim, that Rome could not be safe, as long as 
Carthaore existed in a hostile state. The kin or of the Van- 
dais distrusted the A^alor of his native subjects, Avho Avere 
enervated by the luxury of the South ; ^^ he suspected the 
fidelity o£ the vanquished people, Avho abhorred him as an 
Arian tyrant, and tlie desperate measure, Avhich he executed, 
of reducing Mauritania into a desert,^'' could not defeat 
the operations of the Roman emperor, Avho Avas at liberty to 
land his troops on any part of the African coast. But Gen- 
seric Avas saA^ed from impending and inevitable ruin by the 
treachery of some powerful subjects ; enA'ious, or apprehen- 

*» Interea duplici texis dum littore classem 

Inferno siiperoque mari, cadit omuis in aequor 
Sylva tibi, &c. 

Sidou. Paiiegyr. Majorian, 441-461. 

The number of ships, which Priscns fixed at 300, is magnified, by an indefirate 
comparison with the fleets of Agamemnon, Xerxes, and Augustus. 

^'J Procopius de Bell. A^andal. 1. i. c. 8, p. 194. AVhen Genseric condu<t<d Irs 
unknown guest into tlie arsenal of Carthage, the arms clashed of their own 
accord. Majorian had tinjjed his yellow locks with a black color. 

w Spoliisque potitus 

Immensfs, robnr luxii jam perdidit omne, 
Quo valuit dum pauper erat. 

Panegyr. Majorian, 330. 

He afterwards applies to Genseric, unjustly, as it should seem, the vices of hia 
subjects. 

•'- lie burnt the villages, and poisoned 1he springs (Priscus. p. 42). Dubos 
(Hist. Critique, torn. i. p. ;7.'i~) observes, th;it the magazines which the Moors 
buried in the earth might escap« his destructive searcli. Two or three hundred 

E its are sometimes «hig in the same place; and each jnt contains at least four 
undred bushels of coru. Shaw's Travels, p. 139. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE . 231 

sivc, of their master's success. Guided by their secret in- 
telligence, he surprised tlie unguarded fleet in the Bay of 
Carthagena : many of the ships were sunk, or taken, or 
burnt ; and tlie pre])arations of three years were destroyed 
in a single day.^^ After this event, the behavior of the two 
antagonists showed tliem superior to their fortune. The 
Vandal, instead of being elated by this accidental victory, 
immediately renewed his solicitations for peace. The em- 
peror of the West, who was capable of forming great de- 
signs, and of supporting heavy disappointments, consented 
to a treaty, or rather to a suspension of arms, in the full 
assurance that, before he could restore his navy, he should 
be supplied with provocations to justify a second war. Ma- 
jorian returned to Italy, to prosecute his labors for the pub- 
lic happiness ; and, as he was conscious of his own integrity, 
lie might long remain ignorant of the dark conspiracy which 
threatened his throne and his life. The recent misfortune 
of Carthagena sullied the glory which had dazzled the eyes 
of the multitude; almost every description of civil and mili- 
tary officers were exasj^erated against the Reformer, since 
tiiey all derived some advantaofc from tlie abuses which he 
endeavored to suppress ; and the patrician Ricimer im- 
l^elled the inconstant passions of tlie Barbarians against a 
prince whom he esteemed and hated. The virtues of Majo- 
rlan could not protect him from the impetuous sedition, 
which broke out in the camp near Tortona, at the foot of the 
Alps. He was compelled to abdicate the Imperial purple: 
five days after his abdication, it Avas rei>orted that he died 
of a dysentery ; ^* and the liumble tomb, which covered liis 
remains, was consecrated by the respect and gratitude of 
succeeding generations.*^^ The private character of Majo- 
rian inspired love and respect. Malicious calumny and 
satire excited his indignation, or, if he himself were the ol> 
ject, his contempt; but he protected the freedom of wit, 
and, in the hours which the emperor gave to the familiar 

" Idatius, who was snfe in Gallicia from the iMjwer of Ricimer, boldly and 
honestly declares, Vandali per proditoresadmoniti, &c.: he dissembles, however, 
the name of the traitor. 




anc 
vel 

consilio fultus, fraude interlicit cireunWenturii." Some reacl Su'evorum, and I 
am unwilling to efface either of the words, as they express the different accom- 
plices who united in the conspiracy against Majorian. 

f*'^ See the Epigrams of Ennodiiis, No. cxxxv- inter Sirmond. Opera, torn. i. p. 
1903, It is flat and obscure ; but Eiinodius was made bishop of Pavia fifty years 
after the death of Majorian, and his praise deserves credit and regard. 



232 THE DECLTJ^E AXD FALL 

society of liis friends, he could indulge his taste for pleas- 
antry, without degrading- the majesty of his rank.''*' 

It was not, ])erhaps, without some regret^ that Ricimcr 
sacrificed his frier.d to the interest of his ambition ; but lie 
resolved, in a second choice, to avoid the imprudent prefer- 
ence of superior virtue and merit. At his command, the 
obsequious senate of Home bestowed the Imperial title on 
Libius Severus, who ascended the throne of the West with- 
out emerging from the obscurity of a private condition. 
History has scarcely deigned to notice his birth, his eleva- 
tion, his character, or his death. Severus expired, as soon 
as his life became inconvenient to his patron ;^'^ and it would 
be useless to discriminate his nominal reign in the vacant in- 
terval of six years, between the death of Majorian and the 
elevation of Anthemius. During that period^ the govern- 
ment was in the liands of Ricimer alone; and, althoTigh the 
modest Barbarian disclaimed the name of king, he accumu- 
lated treasures, formed a separate army, negotiated j)rivate 
alliances, and ruled Italy with the same independent and 
despotic authority, which was afterwards exercised by Odo- 
acer and Theodoric. But his dominions were bounded by 
the Alps ; and two Roman generals, jMarcellinus and ^gi- 
dius, maintained their allegiance to the republic, by reject- 
ing, with disdain, the phantom which he styled an emjjeror 
Marcellinus still adhered to the old religion ; and the devout 
Pagans, who secretly disobeyed the Jaws of the church and 
state, ap])Iauded Jiis profound skill in the science of divina- 
tion. But he possessed the more valuable qualifications of 
learning, virtue, and courage ; ^* the study of the Latin liter 
fiture Iiad improved his taste; and his military talents had 
recommended him to the esteem and confidence of t lie great 
Aetius, in whose rmn he was involved. By a timely ilight, 
Marcellinus escaped tlie rage of Valentinian, and bohlly as- 
serted his liberty amidst the convulsions of the Western em- 
s'^ sidonius gives a tedious account (i. i. epist.'xi. pp. 25-31) of asnpperat ArleSf 
to which ho was iiiviteil by Majorian, a slioit time before his death. He had no 
intention of prajiiing a ileceased emperor : but a casual disinterested remark, 
" Subrjsit Augustus ; ut erat, Jtuctoritate servati, enm se comniunfoni dedisset^ 
joci pleiuis," outweigh!* the six liundred lines of his venal panegyric 
'•' Sidonius (Panegyr. Antlienv, 317) dismis.-es him to heaven :— 

Auxernt .Aiigustus naturas lege Severua 
Divorum iiuHieruni. 

And an old list of the emperors, oompoaed about the time of Ju&tinian, praises 
birt piety, and tixes liis n^'^idence at IvomeiSinuond. Not ad Sidon.pp. Ill, 1V2). 

•'■^<' 1'iileniont. who is always seandali/ed by ihe virtues of infidels, attributes 
this advantageous jxutiait of Marcellinus (which Suidas has preserved) to tlm 
partial zeal of some Pagan historian (Hist, des Euiyereurs, toiu. vi. p. 330). 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 233 

pire. His voluntary, or reluctant, submission to the author- 
ity of Majorian, was rewarded by tlic government of Sicily, 
and the command of an army, stationed in that island to 
oppose, or to attack, the Yandals; but his Barbarian mer- 
cenaries, after the emperor's death, were tempted to revolt 
by the artful liberality of Ricimer. At the head of a band 
of faithful followers, the intrepid Marcellinus occupied the 
province of Palmatia, assumed tlie title of patrician of the 
West, secured the love of his subjects by a mild and equita- 
ble reign, built a fleet which claimed the dominion of the 
Adriatic, and alternately alarmed the coasts of Italy and of 
Africa.^^ ^Egidius, the master-general of Gaul, who equalled, 
or at least who imitated, the heroes of ancient Ilome,^*' pro- 
claimed his immortal resentment against the assassins of 
his beloved master. A brave and numerous army was at- 
tached to his standard : and, though lie was ])revented by 
the arts of liicimer, and tlie arms of the Visigoths, from 
marching to the gates of Rome, he maintained his iTidepen- 
dent sovereignty beyond tlie Alps, and rendered the name of 
^Egidius respectable both in j)eace and war. The Franks, 
who had punished with exile the youthful follies of Childe- 
ric, elected the Roman general for their king: his vanity, 
rather than his ambition, was gratiiied by that singular 
honor; and when the nation, at the end of four years, re- 
pented of the injury which they had offered to the Merovin- 
gian family, he patiently acquiesced in the restoration of the 
lawful ])rince. The authority of ^Egidius ended only with 
Ills life, and the suspicions of poison and secret violence, 
which derived some countenance from the character of Rici- 
mer, were ergerly entertained by the passionate credulity of 
the Gixuh.'' 

The kingdom of Italy, a name to Avhich the Western em- 
pire was gradually reduced, was afflicted, under the reign 
of Ricimer, by the incessant depredations of the Vandal 

5'Procopius (le Bell. Vnndal. 1. i. c. G, p. 191. In various oirciiinst.inres of the 
life of Marcellinu:-. it is not easy to reconcile the Greek liistorian with tho Latin 
Chronicles of tlie times. 

•'I must apply to yEgi<liii.s the praises which Sidonins (Panegyr. Majorian, 
r>~C) h:islo\v8 on a nameless inaster-general, wlio commande<l the rear-giiard of 
Majorian. Idatius, from pnblic report, commends his Christian piety ; and Pris- 
cus mentions (p. 42) his military virtues. 

<^' Greg. Tnron. 1 ii. c. 12, in torn. ii. p. 1G8. The Pfere Daniel, whoBe ideas 
were superficial Jind modern, has started some objectio?i8 against the story of 
Childerii; (Hist, de France, torn. i. Preface Ilistorique, c. Ixxvii., &c.) : but tliey 
have been fairly atisiied by Dnboa (Hist. Critique, torn. i. jip. "ICO-CIO), and by 
two authors who disputed Hie pri/.e of the Academy of Soissons (pp. I'^l— 177, 310 
—.3.39). With regard to Hie term of Cliilderic'8 exile, it is necess'iry either to pro- 
long the life of ^.uidins beyond the date assigned by the Chyonlcb' of IdaUuB ; 
or to correct the text of Gregory, by reading (pmrio anno, insteud of octavo^ 



234 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

pirates.^^ In the spring of cncli year, they equipped a for- 
midable navy in the port of Carthage ; and Genseric liini- 
self, though in a very advanced age, still commanded in per- 
son the most important ex])editions. His designs were con- 
cealed with impenetrable secrecy, till the moment that he 
hoisted sail. When he was asked, by his pilot, what course 
he should steer, " Leave the determination to the winds, 
(replied the Barbarian, with pious arrogance :) they will 
trans-port us to the guilty coast, whose inhabitants have pro- 
voked the divine justice ; " but if Genseric himself deigned 
to issue more precise orders, he judged the most wealthy to 
be the most criminal. The Yandals repeatedly visited the 
hoasts of Spain, Liguria, Tuscany, Campania, Lucania, Brut- 
tium, Apulia, Calabria, Venetia, Dalmatia, Epirus, Greece, 
and Sicily : they were tempted to subdue the Island of Sar- 
dinia, so advantageously placed in the centre of the Medi- 
terranean ; and their arms spread desolation, or terror, from 
the columns of Hercules to the mouth of the Nile. As they 
were more ambitious of spoil than of glory, they seldom at- 
tacked: any fortified cities, or engaged any regular troops-in 
the open field. But the celerity of their motions enabled 
them, almost at the same time, to threaten and to attack the 
most distant objects, which attracted their desires; and as 
they always embarked a sufficient number of horses, they 
had no sooner landed, than they swept the dismayed coun- 
try with a body of light cavalry. Yet, notwithstanding the 
example of their king, the native Vandals and Alani insen- 
sibly declined this toilsome and perilous warfare; the hardy 
generation of the first conquerors was almost extinguished, 
and their sons, who were born in Africa, enjoyed the deli- 
ciouf^ baths and gardens which had been acquired by the 
valor of their lathers. Theii place was readily supplied by 
a various multitude oi Moors and Romans, of captives and 
outlaws ; and those elesperate wretches, who had already 
violated the law.s of their country, were tlie most eager to 
promote the atrocious acts which disgrace the victories of 

C" The naval war of Genseric is described by Pris i!S (Excerpta ijegation. p. 
42), Procopius (de Bell. Vandal. 1. i. c. 5, pp. 180, li'd. and c. 22, p. 22.'<~>. Victor 
Vitensis (de Pcrsecut. Vandal. J. i. c. 17, and Rninart. pj). 4ri7-481"i, and in tli-* 
three panegyrics of Sidoniiis. whose chronological order is absnrdly transposed 
In the editions both of Savaron and Sirniond. '^Avit. Carni. vii. 441-1,')1. Maj - 
rian. Carni. v. 327-.''.')0, .'i85-44(). Anthem, ("arm, ii. .348-;^8fi.) in one passage, 
the poet seems insinred by hia subject, and expresses a strong plea by a lively 
imago : — 

Hinc VandaluH hostis 



Urget ; et in nostrum numerosi classc quotaunis 
INlilitat excidium : coiiversoque ordine Fati 
Torrida Caucascos infert mihi Byrsa luroi'es. 



OF THE EOMAN EMPIRE. 235 

Genseric. In the treatment of his nnhappy prisoners, he 
sometimes consulted his avarice, and sometimes indulged 
his cruelty; and tlie massacre of five hundred noble citizens 
of Zante or Zacynthus, whose mangled bodies he cast into the 
Ionian Sea, was imputed, by the public indignation, to his 
latest posterity. 

Such crimes could not be excused by any provocations ; 
but the Avar, which the king of the Vandals prosecuted 
against the Roman empire, was justified by a specious and 
reasonable motive. The Avidow of Valentinian, Eudoxia, 
whom he had led captive from Rome to Carthage, Avas the 
sole heiress of the Theodosian house ; her elder daughter, 
Eudocia, became the reluctant Avife of Hunneric, his eldest 
son ; and the stern father, asserting a legal claim, Avhich 
could not easily be refuted or satisfied, demanded a just 
proportion of the Imperial patrimony. An adequate, or at 
least a valuable, compensation, Avas offered by the Eastern 
emperor, to purchase a necessary peace. Eudoxia and her 
younger daughter, Placidia, Avere honorably restored, and 
the fury of the Yandals Avas confined to the limits of the 
Western empire. The Italians, destitute of a naA^al force, 
Avhich alone Avas capable of protecting their coasts, implored 
the aid of the more fortunate nations of the East; Avho had 
formerly acknoAAdedged, in peace and war, the supremacy 
of Rome. But the perpetual division of the two empires 
had alienated their interest and their inclinations ; the faith 
of a recent treaty Avas alleged ; and the Western Romans, 
instead of arms and ships, could only obtain the assistance 
of a cold and ineffectual mediation. The haughty Ricimer, 
Avho had long struggled Avith the difliculties of his situation, 
was at length reduced to address the throne of Constanti- 
nople, in the humble language of a subject ; and Italy sub- 
mitted, as the price and security of the alliance, to accept a 
master from the choice of the emperor of the East.^^ It is 
not the purpose of the present chapter, or even of the 
present A^olume, to continue the distinct series of the Byzan- 
tine history ; but a concise vicAv of the reign and character 

^ The poet himself is compelled to acknowledge the distress of Ricimer : — 

Praeterea invictxis Ricimer, quern pu]>lic-a fata 
Respiciuiit, propria solus vix Marte repellit 
Piratam per ruia vagum. 

Italy addresses her complaint to the Tiber, and Rome, at the solicitation of the 
rivei goti, transports herself to Constantinople, renounces her ancient claims, 
and implores the friendsliip of Aurora, the goddess of the East. Tliis fabulous 
machinery, wliich the genius of Claudian liad used and abused, is the constant 
and miserable resource of the muse of Sidonius. 



236 THE DECLINE AI»q"D FALL 

of tlie emperor Leo, ma^^ explain the last efforts that were 
attempted to save the falling empii'e of the West.^'* 

Since the death of the youno-er Theodosius, the domestic 
repose of Constantinople had never been interra])ted by war 
or faction. Pulcheria had bestowed her hand, and tlie 
sceptre of the East, on the modest virtue of Marcian : lie 
gratefully reverenced her august rank and virgin chastity ; 
and, after her death, he gave his people the example of the 
religious worship that was due to the memory of the Im- 
perial saint.^^ Attentive to the ])rosperity of jiis own 
dominions, Marcian seemed to behold, with indifference, the 
misfortunes of Rome ; and tlie obstinate refusal of a brave 
and active prince, to draw his sword against the Vandals, 
was ascribed to a secret promise, which had formerly been 
exacted from him when he Avas a captive in the power of 
Genseric.*^^ The death of Marcian, after a reign of seven 
years, would have exposed the East to tlie danger of a 
popular election ; if the superior Aveight of a single family 
had not been able to incline the balance in favor of the 
candidate whose interest they supported. The patrician 
Aspar might have placed the diadem on his own head, if he 
would have subscribed the Nicene creed.^'^ During three 
generations, the armies of the East were successively com- 
manded by his father, by liimself, and by his son Ardabu- 
rius ; his Barbarian guards formed a military force that 
overawed the palace and the capital ; and ^he liberal distri- 
bution of his immense treasures rendered Aspar as ])Opular 
as he was powerful. He recommended tiie obscure name 
of Leo of Thrace, a military tribune, and the princi])al 
steward of his household. His nomination was unanimously 
ratified by the senate ; and the servant of Aspar received 
the Imperial crown from the hands of the patriarch or 
bishop, who was permitted to express, by this unusual cere- 
mony, the suffra2;e of tlie Deity.^^ This emperor, the first 
of the name of Leo, has been distinguished by the title of 

C4 The original authors of the rei^Tis of Marcian, Leo. and Zeno, are reilnced 
to some imperfrtct fragment-, whose delu iencies must be supplied from the more 
recent compilations of Theophanes, Zonaras, and Cedrenns. 

c-' St. Pulcheria died A. J). '153, four years before her nominal h;;sband ; and 
her festival is celebrated on the 10th of September by the modern Greel^s : she 
bequeathed an immense patrimony to pio\is, or, at least, to ecclesiastical, uses. 
See Tillemont. Mcmoires Eccles. tom.xv. pp. 181—184. 

c'' See Procopins, de Bell. Vandal. 1. 1. c. 4, p. 185. 

"^ From this disability of Aspar to ascend Ihe throne, it may be inferred that 
the stain of Heres;/ was perpetual and indelible, while that of liarbarism dis- 
appeared in the second generation. 

"■* Theophanes, p. 05. This appears to he the first orl<Tin of a ceremony, which 
all the Christian princes of tlie world have since adopted ; and from which the 
clergy have deduced the most formidable conseq^uences. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIllE. 237 

the Great ; from a succession of princes, who gradually 
fixed in the opinion of the Greeks a very humble standard 
of heroic, or at least of royal, perfection. Yet tlie temper- 
ate firmness with which Leo resisted the oppression of his 
benefactor, showed that he was conscious of his duty and 
of liis prerogative. Aspar was astonislied to find that his 
influence couki n,o longer appoint a praefect of Constantino- 
ple : he presumed to reproach his sovereign with a breach 
of ])romise, and insolently shaking his purple, " It is not 
proper (said he), that tlie man who is invested with tliis 
garment, should be guilty of lying." " Nor is it j^roper (re- 
plied Leo), that a ])rince should be compelled to resign his 
own judgment, and the public interest, to the will of a sub- 
ject." *^^ After this extraordinary scene, it was impossible 
that the reconciliation of the emperor and the patrician 
could be sincere ; or, at least, that it could be solid and 
permanent. An army of Lsaurians '^ was secretly levied, and 
introduced into Constantinople ; and while Leo undermined 
the authority, and pi-epared the disgrace, of the family of 
Aspar, his mild and cautious behavior restrained them from 
any rash and desperate attempts, which might have been 
fatal to themselves, or their enemies. The measures of 
peace and war were affected by this internal revolution. 
As long as Aspar degraded the majesty of the throne, the 
secret correspondence of religion and interest engaged him 
to favor the cause of Genseric. When Leo had delivered 
himself from that ignominious servitude, he listened to the 
complaints of the Italians ; resolved to extirpate the tyranny 
of the Vandals ; and declared his alliance with his colleague, 
Anthemius, whom he solemnlv invested with the diadem 
and purple of the West. 

The virtues of Anthemius have perhaps been magnified, 
since the Imperial descent, which he could only deduce 
from the usurper Procopius, has been swelled^to a line of 
emiDerors."^^ But the merit of his immediate parents, their 

«^ Cedrenus (pp. 345, .3i6), who was conversant with the writers of better days, 
has preserved the remarkable words of Aspar, BacrtAev, rb^ Taurrji/ ir^v akovpyi.6a. 

70 The power of the lsaurians agitated the Eastern empire in the two succeed- 
ing rei"!is of Zeno and Anastasius ; but it ended in the destruction of tliose 
Barbarians, who maintained their fierce independence about two hundred and 
thirty years. 

H . Tali tu civis ab urbe 

Procopio genitore micas ; cui prisca propago 
Augustis vt-nit a proavis- 

The poet (Sidon. Panegyr. Anthem. 67-306) then proceeds to relate the private 
life and fortunes of the future emperor, with which he must have been very 
imperfectly acquainted. 



238 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

honors, and tlieir riches, rendered Anthemius one of the 
most ilhistrions subjects of the East. His father, Procopiiis, 
obtained, after Ids Persian embassy, tlie rank of general and 
patrician ; and the name of Anthemius was derived from 
his maternal grandfatlier, the celebrated pr^efect, who pro- 
tected, wdth so much ability and success, the infant reign of 
Theodosius. The grandson of the prasfect was raised above 
the condition of a private subject, by his marriage with 
Euphemia, the daughter of the emperor Marcian. This 
splendid alliance, wliich might supersede the necessity of 
merit, hastened the promotion of Antliemius to the succes- 
sive dignities of count, of master-general, of consul, and of 
patrician ; and his merit or fortune claimed the honors of a 
victory, which was obtained on the banks of the Danube, 
over the Huns. Without indulging an extravagant ambi- 
tion, the son-in-law of Marcian might hope to be his successor; 
but Anthemius supported the disappointment with courage 
and patience ; and his subsequent elevation was universally 
aj^proved by the public, wlio esteemed him worthy to reign, 
till he ascended the throne.'^ Tlie emper©r of the West 
marched from Constantinople, attended by several counts of 
liigh distinction, and a body of guards almost equal to the 
strength and numbers of a regular army: he entered Rome 
in triumph, and the choice of Leo was confirmed by tlie 
senate, the people, and the Barbarian confederates of Italy."^ 
The solemn inauguration of Anthemius was followed by the 
nuptials of his daughter and the patrician Ricimer ; a fortu- 
nate event, which was considered as the firmest security of 
the union and happiness of the state. The wealth of two 
empires was ostentatiously displayed; and many senators 
completed their ruin, by an expensive effort to disguise their 
poverty. All serious business was suspended daring this 
festival; the courts of justice were shut; the streets of 
Rome, the tj^atres, the ])laces of public and private resort, 
resounded with hymaeneal songs and dances : and the royal 
bride, clothed in silken robes, with a crown on her head, was 
conducted to the palace of Ricimer, wdio had changed his 
military dress for the habit of a consul and a senator. On 
this memorable occasion, Sidonius, whose early ambition 
had been so fatally blasted, appeared as the orator of Au- 
vergne, among the provincial deputies w-ho addressed the 

7- Sidonius discovers, with tolerable ingenuity, that this disappointment added 
new lustre to the virtues of Anthemius (210, &c.), who declined one sceptre, and 
reluctantly accepted another (22, &c-). 

73 The poet again celebrates the unanimity of all orders of the state (15—22) ; 
and the Chrouicfe of Idatius mentions the forces which attended bis march, s 



OF THE KOMAN EMPIRE. 239 

throne with congratulations or complaints.*^* The calends 
of January were now approaching, and the venal poet, who 
had loved Avitus, and esteemed Majorian, was persuaded 
by his friends to celebrate, in heroic verse, the merit, the 
felicity, the second consulship, and the future trium])hs, of 
the emperor Anthemius. Sidonius pronounced, with assur- 
ance and success, a panegyric which is still extant ; and 
whatever might be the imperfections, either of the subject 
or of the composition, the welcome flatterer was imme- 
diately rewarded with the proefecture of Rome ; a dignity 
which placed him among the illustrious personages of tlie 
em})ire, till he wisely preferred the more respectable charac- 
ter of a bishop and a saint.'^^ 

The Greeks ambitiously commend the piety and catholic 
faith of the emperor whom they gave to the West ; nor do 
they forget to observe, that when he left Constantinople, he 
converted his palace into the pious foundation of a public 
bath, a church, and a hospital for old men."^® Yet some sus- 
picious appearances are found to sully the theological fame 
of Anthemius. From the conversation of Philotheus, a 
Macedonian sectary, he had imbibed the spirit of religious 
toleration ; and the Heretics of Rome would have assembled 
with impunity, if the bold and vehement censure which 
Pope Hilary pronounced in the church of St. Peter, had not 
obliged him to abjure the unpopular indulgence.'^'^ Even 
the Pagans, a feeV)le and obscure remnant, conceived some 
vain hopes, froin the indifference, or'partiality, of Anthemius; 
and his singular friendship for the philosopher Severus, 
whom lie j)romoted to the consulship, was ascribed to a 
secret project, of reviving the ancient worship of the gods.'^® 

7* Iiiterveni autem nupliis Patricii Ricimeris, cui filia perennis Angusti in spem 
publicse securitatis copulabatur. The journey of Sidonius from Lyons, and the 
festival of Kome are described with some spirit. L. i. epist. 5, pp. 9-13, epist. 9, 
p. 21. 

75 Sidonius (1. i. epist. 9, pp. 2.3, 24) very fairly states his motive, his labor, and 
liis reward. "Hie ipse Panegyricus, si non judicium, certe eventum, boni 
operis, accepit." He was made bishop of Clermont, A. D. 471. Tillemont. Mem. 
Eccles. torn. xvi. p. 750. 

''' The palace of Anthemius stood on the banks of the Propontis. In the 
ninth century, Alexius, the son-in-law of the emperor Theophilus, obtained per- 
missioji to purchase the ground ; and ended his days in a monastery, v/lii(;h he 
founded on that delightful spot. Ducange, Constantinopolis Christiana, pp. 
117, 152. 

^7 Papa Hilarius * * * apud beatum Petrum Apostolum^ palam ne id fieret, 
clara voce constrinxit. in tantum ut non ea facienda cum interpositione jura- 
menti idem promitteret Imperator. Gelasins Epistol. ad Androiiicum, apud 
Baron. A. D. 467, No. 3. The cardinal observes, with some complacency, that it 
was much easier to plant heresies at Constantinople, than at Rome. 

"3 Damascius, in the life of the philosopher I.«idore, apud Photium, p. 1049. 
Damascius, who lived under Justinian, compose<l another work, consisting of 
."■^70 prseteniatural stories of souls, daemons, apparitions ; the dotage of Platonic 
Pa -auism. 



240 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

These idols were crumbled into dust : and the mythology 
which had once been the creed of nations, was so univer- 
sally disbelieved, that it might be employed Avithout scandal, 
or at least without suspicion, by Christian poets. '^ Yet the 
vestiges of superstition were not absolutely obliterated, 
and the festival of the Lupercalia, whose origin had preced- 
ed the foundation of Rome, was still celebrated under the 
reign of Antheniius. The savage and sim])le rites were 
expressive of an early state of society before the invention 
of arts and agriculture. The rustic deities who presided 
over the toils and pleasures of the pastoral life, Pan, Faunus, 
and their train of satyrs, were such as the fancy of shep- 
lierds might create, sportive, petulant, and lascivious ; 
whose power was limited, and whose malice was inoffensive. 
A goat was the offering the best adapted to their character 
and attributes ; the flesh of the victim was roasted on willow 
spits ; and the riotous youths, who crowded to the feast, 
ran naked about tiie fields, with leather thongs in their 
liands, communi^'.ating, as it was supposed, the blessing of 
fecundity to the women whom they touched. ^° The altar of 
Pan was erected, perhaps by Evander the Arcadian, in s 
dark recess in the side of the Palatine hill, watered by a 
perpetual fountain, and shaded by a hanging giove. A tra- 
dition, that, in the same place, Romulus and Remus were 
suckled by the wolf, rendered it still more sacred and ven- 
erable in the eyes of the Romans; and this sylvan spot was 
gradually surrounded by the stately edifices of the Forum.^^ 
After the conversion of the Imperial city, the Cliristians 
still continued, in the month of February, the annual cele- 
bration of the Lupercalia ; to which they ascribed a secret 
and mysterious influence on the genial powers of the ani- 
mal and vegetable world. The bishops of Rome were 
solicitous to abolish a profane (*,ustom, so repugnant to the 
spirit of Christianity; but their zeal was not supported by 
the authority of the civil magistrate : the invetei-ate abuse 
subsisted till the end of the fifth century, and Pope Gela- 
sius, who purified the capital from the last stain of idolatry 

79 In the poetical works of Sidoiiius, which he afterwards condemned (1. i^. 
epist. 16. p. 2S5), the fabulous deities are the principal actors. If Jerom was 
scovirged by the angels for only reading Virgil, the bishop of Clermont, for such 
a vil'"^ imitation, deserved an additional whipping from the Muses. 

«" Ovid (Fast. 1. ii. 267-452) has given an amusing description of the follies of 
antiquity, which still inspired .so much respect, that a grave magistrate, running 
naked through the streets, was not an object of astonit^hment or laughter. 

»' See Dionys, Halicarn. 1. i. pp. 25. 65, edit. Hudson. The Roman antiquaries 
Donatus (1. ii. c. 18, pp. 173. 174) and Nardini (pp. 386, 387) have labored to ascer- 
tain the true situation of the Lupercal. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 241 

appeased, by a formal apology, tlie murmurs of the senate 
and people.^^ 

lu all his public declarations, the emperor Leo assumes 
the authority, and j^i'ofesses the affection, of a father, for 
his son, Anthemius, with whom he had divided the admin- 
istration of the universe.^^ Tlie situation, and perliaps tlie 
cliaracter, of Leo, dissuaded him from exposing his person 
to the toils and dangers of an African war. But the pow- 
ers of tlie Eastern empire were strenuously exerted to de- 
liver Italy and the Mediterranean from the Vandals ; and 
Genseric, who had so long oppressed both the land and 
sea, was threatened from every side with a formidable in- 
vasion. The campaign was opened by a bold and suc- 
cessful enterprise of the pr<'efect Heraclins.^^ The troops 
of Kgyptj Thebais, and Libya, vvere embai'ked under his 
command; and the Arabs, with a train of horses and 
camels, opened the roads of the desert. IleracliMs landed 
on the coast of Tripoli, surprised and subdued the cities 
of that province, and prepared, by a laborious march, 
wdiich Cato had formerly executed, ^^ to joi^i the Imperial 
army under the walls of Carthage. The intelligence of this 
loss extorted from Genseric some insidious and ineffectual 
propositions of peace ; but he was still more seriously 
alarmed by the reconciliation of Marcellinus \^ith the two 
empires. The independent patrician had been persuaded to 
acknowledge the legitimate title of Anthemius, whom he 
accompanied in his journey to Rome ; the Dalmatian fleet 
was received into the harbors of Italy ; the active valor of 
Marcellinus expelled the Vandals from the Island of Sar- 

82 Barouius published, from the MSS. of the Vatk-aii, this epistle of Pope 
.Gela^ius (A. D. 496, No. liS-45), wlilch is entitled Adversus Aiidromiichum Seii- 
atorem, caitero.-ique liomanos, qui Ijupercalia secundum moreni pristinum ooleuda 
coustituebant. Gelasius always supposes that Ids adversaries are nominal Chris- 
tians, and, that he may ]i(>t yield to them in absurd prejudice, he imputes to this 
harmless festival all tiie c'ilamitU'..i of the age. 

«^ Itaque nos quibu.s totius mundi regimen commisit superna pi'ovisio * * 
Pius et triuniphator semper Augustus tilius nostcr Anthemius, licet Diviiia Ma- 
jestas et nostra creatio pictati ejus plenam Impeiii commiserit poteslatem, &c. 
* * Such is the digni lied style of Leo, whom Anthemius respectfully names, 
Dominus et Pater me, is Princeps sac.atissimus Leo. See Novell. Anthem, tit. ii. 
iii. p. ."58, ad calcem Cod, Theod. 

^ The expedition of ITcraclius is clouded with difliculties (Tiliemont, Hist, 
des Empereurs, torn. vi. p. 640). and it requires some d:^xteriLy to use tlie circuiu- 
stauces aiiorded by Theophaues, without injiiry to the more respectable evidence 
of ProcopiuK, 

"'^ The march of Cato from Berenice, in the province of Cyrene. was much 
longer than th;it of HeracJius fioni Tripoli, lie passed tlie deep sandy «lesert in 
tliirty days, and it was fo'.ind necessary to provide, besides the ordinary supplies. 
A Ljreat number of skins filled with water, and several Psylli, who were aupiiosed 
to possess the a.t of sucking the wounds which had been made by the sar{>ent8 
of their native country. See Plutarch in Catoiv. Uticens. torn. iv. p. 9.V^ Stra- 
bou Geo^raph, 1. xvii. p. 1193. - 

Vol- IIL— 16 



242 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

dinia ; and the languid efforts of the West added some 
weight to the immense ])reparations of tlie Eastern Romans. 
The expense of the naval armament, whicli Leo sent against 
the Vandals, lias been distinctly ascertained ; and the curious 
and instructive account displays tlie wealth of the declining 
empire. The royal demesnes, or private patrimony of the 
prince, supplied seventeen thousand pounds of gold ; forty- 
seven thousand pounds of gold, and seven hundred thousand 
of silver, were levied and. paid into the treasury by the 
Praetorian prasfects. But the cities were reduced to extreme 
poverty ; and the diligent calculation of fines and forfeitures, 
as a valuable object of the revenue, does not suggest the 
idea of a just or merciful administration. The whole ex- 
pense, by whatsoever means it was defrayed, of the African 
campaign, amounted to the sum of one hundred and thirty 
thousand pounds of gold, about live millions two hundred 
thousand pounds sterling, at a time when the value of 
money appears, from the comparative price of corn, to have 
been somewhat higher than in the present age.^^ The fleet 
that sailed from Constantinople to Carthage, consisted of 
eleven hundred and thirteen ships, and the number of sol- 
diers and mariners exceeded one hundred thousand men. 
Basiliscus, the brother of tlie empress Verina, Avas intrusted 
with this ii^portant command. His sister, the wife of Leo, 
had exaggerated the merit of liis former exploits against 
the Scythians. But the discovery of his guilt, or incapacity, 
was reserved for the African war ; and his friends could 
only save his military reputation by asserting, that he had 
conspired with Aspar to spare Genseric, and to betray the 
last hope of the Western empire. 

Experience has shown, that the success of an invader 
most commonly depends on the vigor and celerity of his 
operations. The strength and sharpness of the first impres- 

8ij The principal sum is clearly expressed by Procopius (de Bell. Vandal. 1. i. 
c. G, p. 1!>1) ; the i mailer constiUient parts, which Tillenxoiit (Hist, des Eniper- 
eurs, torn. vi. p. 390) has laboriously collecteil from the Byzantine writers, are 
less certain, and less important. The historian Malchus laments the public 
misery (Excerpt, ex Snida in Corp. Hist. Byzant. p. SS) ; but he is surely unjust, 
when he charges Leo with hoarding the treasure;) which he extorted from the 
people.* 



* Compare likewise the newly -discovered work of Lydus, de Magistratibup, ed. 
ITase, Paris, 1812 (and in the new coTlection of the Byzantines), 1. lii. c. ■IS. 
Lydus states the expenditure at 05,000 lbs. of gold, TOO.OOo' of silver. But Lydus 
exaggerates the fleet to the incredible number of 10,000 long ships (Tjiburna^^' and 
the troops to 400,000 men. Lydus descril»es this fatal measure, of which he 
charges the blame on Basiliscus, as the shipwreck of the state. From that time 
all the revenues of the empire were anticipated : and the fluances'fell into inex- 
tricable confusion.— M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 243 

slon are blunted by delay ; the health and spirit of the 
troops insensibly languish in a distant climate ; the^ naval 
and military force, a miglity effort which ])erhaps can never 
be repeated, is silently consumed ; and every hour that is 
wasted in negotiation, accustoms the enemy to contemplate 
and examine those hostile terrors, which, on their first ap- 
])earance, he deemed irresistible. The formidable navy of 
Basiliscus pursued its prosperous navigation from tlie 
Thracian Bosphorus to the coast of Africa. He landed his 
troops at Cape Bona, or the promontory of Mercury, about 
forty miles from Carthage.*''^ The army of Heraclius, and 
the fleet of Marcellinus, either joined or seconded the Im- 
perial lieutenant ; and the Vandals who opposed his prog- 
ress by sea or land, Avere successively vanquished.^" If 
Basiliscus had seized the moment of consternation, and 
boldly advanced to the capital, Carthage must have sur- 
rendered, and the kingdom of the Vandals was extinguished. 
Genseric beheld the danger with firmness, and eluded it 
with his veteran dexterity. He protested, in the most re- 
spectful language, that he was ready to submit his person, 
and his dominions, to the will of the emperor ; but he 
requested a truce of five days to regulate the terms of his 
submission ; and it was universally believer], that his secret 
liberality contributed to the success of tliis public negoti- 
ation. Instead of obstinately refusing whatever indulgence 
his enemy so earnestly solicited, the guilty, or the credu- 
lous, Basiliscus consented to the fatal truce; and his im- 
prudent security seemed to proclaim, that he already con- 
sidered himself as the conqueror of Africa. During this 
short interval, the wind became favorable to the designs of 
Genseric. He manned his largest ships of war with the 
bravest of the Moors and Vandals ; and they towed after 
tliem many large barks, filled with combustible materials. 
In the obscurity of the night, these destructive vessels were 
impelled against the unguarded and unsuspecting fleet of 
tlie Romans, who were awakened by the sense of their 
instant danger. Their close and crowded order assisted 
the progress of the fire, which was communicated with rapid 
and irresistible violence ; and the noise of the wind, the 

87 Tills promontoi-v is forty miles from Carthage (Procop. 1. i. c, 6, p. 192), ard 
twenty leajrnes from'Sicih (Shaw's Travels, p. 89). S<ipio hnuled farther iji the 
bav. at the fair protiioiitorv : eee the animated description of l.ivy, xxix. 2(), 27. 

'»» Theoi)hanes (p. 100) aflhms that manv ships of the Vandals were sunk. 
The assertion of Jornandes (de Successione Regn.), that Basiliscus attacked Car- 
thage, must be understood in a very qualilied sense. 



244 THE DECLIXE AND FALL 

crackling of the flames, the dissonant cries of the soldiers 
and mariners, who could neither command nor obey, in- 
creased the liorror of the nocturnal tumult. Whilst they 
labored to extricate themselves from the fire-ships, and to 
save at least a part of the navy, the galleys of Genseric 
assaulted them with temperate and disciplined valor ; and 
many of the Romans, who escaped the fury of the flames, 
Avere destroyed or taken by the victorious Vandals. Among 
the events of that disastrous night, tlie heroic, or rather 
desperate, courage of John, one of tlie principal officers of 
Basiliscus, has rescued liis name from oblivion. When the 
ship, which he had bravely defended, was almost consumed, 
he threw himself in liis armor into the sea, disdainfully re- 
jected the esteem and pity of Genso, the son of Genseric, 
who pressed him to accept honorable quarter, and sunk 
under the waves ; exclaiming, with his last breath, that he 
would never fall alive into the hands of those impious dogs. 
Actuated by a far different spirit, Basiliscus, whose station 
was the most remote from danger, disgracefully fled in the 
beginning of the engagement, returned to Constantinople 
with the loss of more than half of his fleet and army, and 
sheltered his guilty head in the sanctuary of St. Sophia, till 
his sister, by lier tears and entreaties, could obtain his par- 
don from the indignant emperor. Ileraclius effected his 
retreat through the desert; MarceHinus retired to Sicily, 
where lie was assassinated, perhaps at the instigation of 
Ricimer, by one of liis own captains ; and the king of the 
Vandals expressed his surprise and satisfaction, that the 
Romans themselves should remove from the Avorld his most 
formidable antasjonists.^^ After the failure of this erreat 
expedition,* Genseric again became the tyrant of the sea : 
the coasts of Italy, Greece and Asia, were again ex})osed to 
liis revenge and avarice ; Tripoli and Sardinia returned to 
liis obedience; he added Sicily to the number of his ])rov- 
inces ; and, before he died, in the fulness of years and of 
glorv, lie behekl the final extinction of the enijoire of the 
West.^« 

85 Damascius in Yit. Isidor. apiid Phot. p. 10-18. It will appear, by comparing 
the three short ehrouicles oi' the times, that Marcelliuus had fought near Car- 
thage, and was killed in Sicily. 

'-^^ For the African war. see Procopius (de Bell. Yand;il. 1. i. c. r, pn. Ifsi, 192, 
193). Theophanes (pp. 99, 100, 101), Cedrenus (pp. ol9, 350), and Zonaras (Lorn. ii. 1. 



* According to Lydus, T^eo, distracted by this and the other calamities of his 
reign, particularly a dreadful lire at Constantinople, abandoned the palace, like 
anothor Orestes, and was i)repariug to quit Coiistautiuople forever, 1. iii. c. 44, p. 
230.— M. 



OF THE nOMAX LMriRE. 245 

During his long and active reign, tlie African monarch 
liad studiously cultivated the friendship of the Barbarians 
of Europe, whose arms he might employ in a seasonable and 
effectual diversion against the two empires. After the 
death of Attila, he renewed his alliance with the Visigoths 
of Gaul ; and the sons of the elder Tlieodoric, wlio succes- 
sively reigned over that warlike nation, were easily per- 
suaded, by the sense of interest, to forget the cruel affront 
Avhich Genseric had inflicted on their sister.®^ The death 
of the emperor Majorian delivered Theodoric the Second 
from the restraint of fear, and perhaps of honor; he violated 
liis recent treaty with the Romans ; and the ample territory 
of Narbonne, which he firmly united to his dominions, 
became the immediate reward of his pei*fidy. The selfisli 
policy of Ricimer encouraged him to invade the provinces 
which were in the possession of ^Egidius, his rival, but the 
active count, by the defence of Aries, and the victory of 
Orleans, saved Gaul, and checked, during his lifetime, the 
progress of the Visigoths. Their ambition was soon re- 
kindled ; and the design of extinguishing the Roman empire 
in Spain and Gaul was conceived, and almost completed, in 
the reign of Euric, who assassinated liis brother Theodoric, 
and displayed, with a more savage temper, superior abilities, 
both in peace and war. He passed the Pyrenees at the 
head of a numerous army, subdued the cities of Saragossa 
and Pampeluna, vanquished in battle the martial nobles of 
the Tarragonese province, carried his victorious arms into 
the heart of Lusitania, and permitted the Suevi to hold the 
kingdom of Gallicia under the Gothic monarchy of Spain.^-^ 
The efforts of Euric were not less vigorous, or less success- 
ful, in Gaul ; and throughout the country that extends from 
the Pyrenees to the Rhone and the Loire, Berry and Au- 
vergne Avere the only cities, or dioceses, which refused to 
acknowledge him as tlieir master .^^ In the defence of Cler- 
mont, their jirincipal town, the inhaljitants of Auvergne 

xiv. pp.50, ni). Montesquieu CConsiderafioiis snr la Grandeur, &c., c. xx. tom- 
iii. p. 497) has made a judicious observation on tlio failure of these great naval 
armaments. 



'•'I .Tornandes is our best giiide through the reigiss of Tlieodoric II. and Euric 
(de Kebiis Geticis, c. 44, 45, 4G, 47, pp. G75-(^;f^l). Idatius ends too soon, and 
Isidore is too sparing of tlie infonnation which ho niif:;ht have pivcn on the 
affairs of Sp.'iin. The events that relate to Gaul are lal)oriously illustrated in 
the thir<l book of the Abbe'; Dubos, Hist. Critique, torn. i. pp. 421-G20. 

^- See ]\Iariana, Hist. Hispan. torn. i. 1. v. c. 5, p. 102. 

°- An imperfect, but original, picture of Ganl, more especially of Auvergne, 
is shown by Sidonijis ; who, as a ^^cnator, and afterwards as a 1 ishop, was deeply 
interested in the fate of his country. Sec 1. v. cpist. 1, 5, 0, iS;c. 



246 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

sustained, with inflexible resolution, the miseries of war, 
pestilence, and famine; and the Visigoths, relinquishing the 
fruitless siege, suspended the hopes of that important con- 
quest. The youth of the province were animated by the 
heroic, and almost incredible, valor of Ecdicius, the son of 
the emperor Avltus,®* who made a desperate sally with only 
eighteen horsemen, boldly attacked the Gothic army, and, 
after maintaining a flying skirmish retired safe and" victo- 
rious within the walls of Clermont. His charity was equal 
to his courage ; in a time of extreme scarcity, four thousand 
poor were fed at his expense ; and his private influence 
levied an army of Burgundians for the delivenince of Au- 
vergne. From his virtues alone the faithful citizens of 
Gaul derived any hopes of safety or freedom; and even 
such virtues were insufficient to avert the impending ruin 
of their country, since they were anxious to learn, from his 
authority and example, whether they sliould prefer the 
alternative of exile or servitude.^^ The public confidence 
was lost ; the resources of the state were exhausted ; and 
the Gauls had too much reason to believe, that Anthemius, 
who reigned in Italy, was incapable of protecting his dis- 
tressed subjects beyond the Alps. The feeble emperor 
could only procure for their defence the service of twelve 
thousand British auxiliaries. Riothamus, one of the in- 
dependent kings, or chieftains, of the island, was persuaded ' 
to transport his troops to the continent of Gaul : he sailed 
np the Loire, and established his quarters in Berry, where 
the people complained of these oppressive allies, till they 
were destroyed or dispersed by the arms of the Visigoths.^^ 
One of the last acts of jurisdiction, which the l\oman 
senate exercised over their subjects of Gaul, was the trial 
and condemnation of Arvandus, the Praetorian pra^fect. 
Sidonius, who rejoices that he lived under a reign in which 
he might pity and assist a state criminal, has expressed, 
with tenderness and freedom, the faults of his indiscreet and 

9< Sidonius, 1. iii. epist. ?>, pp. 65-68. Greg. Turoiu 1. ii. o. 24, in torn. ii. p. 174. 
Jornandes, c. 4"), p. CT."). l^erhaps Ecdicius was only the son-in.-law of Avitiis, 
liis ■wife's son by another iiusband. 

'^'> Si nulla; a r<>publioa vires, nulla pra>sidia ; si nulla», quantum rumor est, 
Anthcmii principis opes ; statuit, te auctore, nobilitas, sen palriam dimittere 
sen eapillos (Sidon. 1. ii. opist. 1, p. 33), Tlielast words (Sinnond, Not. p. LD niay 
likewise denote the clerical tonsure, which was indeed the choice of Sidonius 
himself. 

"" The history of these Britons may be traced in Jornandes (c. 45, p. 678), 
Si<loniua (1. ili. epistnl. 0, pp. 73, 7'), andGregory of Tours (,1. ii. c. 18, in torn. ii. p. 
170). Sinonius (who styles these mercenary troops argutos, armatos, tumul- 
tuosos, virtute ni«mero,Ventnbernio, contumaces) addresses tJieir general in a 
tone of friendship and familiarity. 



OF THE ROMAX EMPIRE. 247 

unfortunate fricnd.^"^ From the perils wliich he had escaped, 
Arvandus imbibed confidence ratlier than wisdom; and 
sucli was the various, thougli uniform, imprudence of his 
behavior, tliat his prosperity must appear much more sur- 
prising than his downfall. The second praefecture, which 
he obtained within tlie term of five years, aholished the 
merit and popularity of his ])receding administration. His 
easy temper was corrupted by flattery, and exasperated by 
opposition ; he was forced to satisfy his importunate credi- 
tors with the spoils of the pro\ince ; his capricious insolence 
offended the nobles of Gaul, and he sunk under the weight 
of the public hatred. The mandate of his disgrace sum- 
moned him to justify his conduct before the senate ; and he 
passed the Sea of Tuscany with a favorable wind, the pre- 
sage as he vainly imagined, of his future fortunes. A decent 
respect was still observed for the Prcefecto7'ian rank ; and 
on his arrival at Rome, Arvandus was committed to the 
liospitality, ratlier than to the custody, of Flavins Asellus, 
the count of the sacred largesses, who resided in the 
Capitol.^^ He was eagerly pursued by his accusers, the four 
deputies of Gaul, who were all distinguished by their birth, 
their dignities, or their eloquence. In the name of a great 
province, and according to the forms of Roman juris])ru- 
dence, they instituted a civil and criminal action, requiring 
such restitution as might compensate the losses of indi- 
viduals, and such pimishment as might satisfy the justice of 
the state. Their charges of corrupt oppression were numer- 
ous and weighty ; but they placed their secret dependence 
on a letter which they had intercepted, and which they 
could prove, l>y the evidence of his secretary, to have been 
dictated by Arvandus himself. Tlie author of this letter 
seemed to dissuade the king of the Goths from a peace with 
the Greek emperor : he suggested the attack of the Britons 
on the Loire ; and he recommended a division of Gaul, 
according to the law of nations, between the Visigoths 
and the Burgundians.^^ These pernicious schemes, which a 
friend could only palliate by the reproaches of vanity and 
indiscretion, were susceptible of a treasonable interpreta- 

^ See Sidonius, 1. i. epist. 7, pp. 15-20, with Sirmond's notes. This letter does 
honor to his lieart, as well as to his understanding. The prose of Sidoiiius, how- 
ever vitiated by false and atfe<',ted taste, is much superior to his insipid verses. 

ts When the Capitol ceased to be a temple, it was appropriated to the use of 
the civil magistrate; and it is still the residence of the Roman senator. The 
jewelleis. &o., might be allowed to expose their precious wares in the porticos. 

^J H}ec !id regem Gothorum, charta videbatur emitti, pacem cum Gneco Im- 
peratore dissuadens. Britannos super Ligeriin sitos impugnari oporterc, demon- 
strans, cum Burgundionibus jure gentium Gallias dividi debere coutirmauB. 



C48 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

tion ; mid tlie cle])uties liad artfully re^solved not to j^rodnce 
their most formidable wea])or»s till the decisive moment of 
the contest. But their intentions were discovered by the 
zeal of Sidonius. He immediately a}>})rised t)ie unsuspect- 
ing criminal of his danger; and sincerely lamented, without 
any mixture of anger, the liaughty j)resumptiou of Arvandus, 
who rejected, and even resented, the salutary advice of his 
friends. Ignorant of his real situation, Arvandus sliowed 
In'mself in the Capitol in the white robe of a candidate, ac- 
cepted indiscriminate salutations and offers of ser\'ice, ex- 
amined the shops of the merchants, the silks and gems, 
sometimes Avith the indifference of a spectator, and some- 
times with the attention of a purchaser; and com]>lained of 
the times, of the senate, of the j)rince, and of the delays of 
justice. His complaints were soon i-enioved. An early day 
was fixed for his trial; and Arvandus a])])eared, with his 
accnisers, before a numerous assembly of the Roman senate. 
The mournful garb which they affected, excited the compas- 
sion of the judges, who were scandalized by the gay and 
splendid di-ess of their adversary; and when the ]>riiifect 
Arvandus, with the first of tlK5 Gallic deputies, were directed 
to take their ]daces on the senatorial benches, the same 
contrast of pride and modesty was observed in their be- 
havior. In this memorable judgment, which presented a 
lively image of the old re])ublic, the Gauls exposed, with 
force and freedom, the grievances of the ])rovince ; and as 
soon as the minds of the audience were sufficiently inflamed, 
they recited the fatal epistle. The obstinacy of Arvandus 
was founded on the strange supposition, that a subject could 
not be convicted of treason, unless he had actually con- 
spired to assume the purj)le. As the paper was read, he 
repeatedly, and with a loud voice, acknowledged it for his 
genuine composition ; and his astonishment was equal to his 
dismay, when the unanimous voice of the senate declared 
him guilty of a capital offence. By their decree, he was de- 
graded from the rank of a ])ra>fect to the obscure condition 
of a plebeian, and ignominiously dragged by servile luinds 
to the public j)rison. After a fortnight's adjournment, the 
senate was again convened to pronounce the sentence of his 
death ; but wliile he expected, in the Island of ^sculapms, 
the expiration of the thirty days allowed by an ancient law to 
the vilest malefactors,^'^* his friends interposed, the emperor 

'" ScTia/}ts-rmi.-inlfnm Tiheriamim, (Sirmoiul Not. p. 17 ;) but that law allowed 
oiilv ton (lavs between th« sinlciice and. excculioii ; the reniaining twenty were 
added in the reign of Theodosius. 



OF THE EOMAN EMPIRE. 249 

Anthemiiis relentecl, and the prsefect of Gaul ob^aine 1 t'ls 
milder pmiisbnient of exile and confiscation. The fa ills of 
Arvandiis niiglit deserve compassion ; but the impunity of 
Seronatus accused tlie justice of the republic, till he \7as 
condemned and executed, on the complaint of the people of 
Auver*:!^ne. That flagitious minister, the Catiline of liis age 
and country, held a secret corres])ondence with the Visi- 
goths, to betray the province which he o])pj'essed : his 
industry was continually exercised in the discovery of new 
taxes and obsolete offences; and his extravagant vices would 
have inspired contempt, if they had not excited fear and 
abhorrence. ^°^ 

Such criminals were not be^'ond the reach of justice; 
but whatever might be Ijie guilt of Ricimei', that powerful 
Barbarian was able to contend or to negotiate with the 
prince, whose alliance he had condescended to accept. The 
peaceful and prosperous reign which Anthemius liad prom- 
ised to the West, was soon clouded by misfortune and 
discord. Ricimer, apprehensive, or impatient, of a superior, 
retired from Rome, and fixed his residence at Milan ; an 
advantageous situation either to invite or to repel the war- 
like tribes that were seated between the A1];)S and the 
Danube. ^*^^ Italy was gradually divided into two indepen- 
dent and liostile kingdoms ; and the nobles of Liguria, who 
trembled at the near approach of a civil war, fell prostrate 
at the feet of the patrician, and conjured him to s]^are their 
unhappy country. " For my own part," rejdied Ricimer, in 
a tone of insolent moderation, " I am still inclined to em- 
brace the friendship of the Galatian ; ^^^ but who will under- 
take to appease his anger, or to mitigate the pride, which 
always rises in ])roportion to our submission ? " They in- 
formed him, tliat Epiphanius, bishop of Pavia,^^^ united the 
wisdom of the serpent with the innocence of the dove ; and 

i"i Catmna seculi nostii. Sldoiiius, 1. li. epist. 1. p. sn ; ]. v. epist. 13. p. 143 ; 
1. vii. epiist. vii. p. 1S5. He execrates tlie crinie-s, jiiirt applauds the punishineiit. 
of SeroDatus, perhaps with the indignation of a virtuous citizen, perhajis with 
the resentmejit of a j)ersonal enemy. 

'"2 iHcimer, imder the reign of Antheniius, defeated mid slew in battle Beor- 
gor, king of the Alani (Jornandes, c. 4.", )>. 078). His sistcn- had married the king 
of the Burjiundiaiis, and ho niainiained an intimate connection with ihe Suevic 
colony establiehfd in Pannoniaand Noriouni. 

'"•'' Galatam conoitatnni. Sirmond (i)i hift note» to Ennodins") ai)pli( s this ap- 

f)pllation to Anthemius hiirself. The emperor was prohaldy born in the prov- 
nce of Galatia, whose inhabitants, tlie Gallo-ttrecians, were supposed to unite 
the vices of a savage and a cornij)ted people. 

10* Epiphanius was thirty years bishop of Pavia (A. I>. ^67-^97> ; see Tille- 
mont, Mem. Kceles. torn. xvi. p. 7^8. His name and actions v/onld h;tve been 
unknown to posterity, if Eniiodins, one of liis sncc-essors, had not written his 
life (Sirmond, Opera, torn. i. pp. Ifil7-1G92) ; in which he represents him as one 
of the greatest characters of tlie age. 



250 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

appeared confident, that the eloquence of such an ambassa- 
dor must prevail against the strongest opposition, either of 
interest or passion. Their recommendation was approved ; 
and Epiphanius, assuming the benevolent office of mediation, 
proceeded without delay to Rome, where he was received 
with the honors due to his merit and reputation. The 
oration of a bishop in favor of peace may be easily supposed ; 
he argued, that, in all possible circumstances, the forgiveness 
of injuries must be an act of mercy, or magnanimity, or 
prudence ; and he seriously admonished the emperor to 
avoid a contest with a fierce Barbarian, which might be fatal 
to himself, and must be ruinous to his dominions. Antlie- 
mius acknowledged the truth of his maxims ; but he deeply 
felt, with grief and indignation, the behavior of Ricimer ; 
and his passion gave eloquence and energy to his discourse. 
" What favors," he warmly exclaimed, " have we refused to 
this ungrateful man ? What provocations have we not en- 
dured ! Regardless of the majesty of the purple, I gave my 
daughter to a Gotli ; I sacrificed my own blood to the safety 
of the republic. The liberality which ought to have secured 
the eternal attachment of Ricimer has exasperated him 
ao'ainst his benefactor. What wars has he not excited 
against the empire ! How often has he instigated and as- 
sisted the fury of hostile nations I Shall I now accept his 
perfidious friendship ? Can I hope that he will respect the 
engagements of a treaty, who has already violated the duties 
of a son ? " But the anger of Anthemius evaporated in 
these passionate exclamations ; he insensibly yielded to the 
proposals of Epiphanius ; and the bishop returned to his 
diocese with the satisfaction of restoring the peace of Italy, 
by a reconciliation, ^°^ of which the sincerity and continuance 
might be reasonably suspected. The clemency of the em- 
peror was extorted from his weakness ; and Ricimer sus- 
j^ended his ambitious desigjis till he had secretly prepared 
the engines with which he resolved to subvert the throne of 
Anthemius. The mask of peace and moderation was then 
thrown aside. The army of Ricimer was fortified by a 
numerous reenforcement of Burgundians and Oriental Suevi : 
lie disclaimed all allegiance to tlie Greek emperor, marched 
from Milc.n to the gates of Rome, and fixing his camp on 
the banks of the Anio, impatiently expected the arrival of 
Olybrius, his Imperial candidate. 

^"5 Finiiodiua (pp. ir>r)9-lf)64) has related this embafssy of Epiphanius ; and his 
narrative, verbose and tiir.cid as Jt must appear, illnstrates some curious pas- 
sages in the fall of the Western empire. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 251 

The senator Olybrius, of the Anician family, might es- 
teem liimself the Lawful heir of the Western empire. He 
had married Placidia, the younger daughter of Valentinian, 
after she was restored by Genseric ; who still detained her 
sister Eudoxia, as the wife, or rather as the captive, of his 
son. The king of the Vandals supported, by tlji'eats and 
solicitations, the fair pretensions of his Roman ally; and as- 
signed, as one of the motives of the war, the refusal of the 
senate and people to acknowledge their lawful prince, and 
the unworthy preference which they had given to a 
stranger.^^^ The friendship of the public enemy might ren- 
der Olybrius still more un])opular to the Italians ; but when 
Ricimer meditated the ruin of the emperor Anthemius, he 
tempted, with the offer of a diadem, the candidate who 
could justify his rebellion by an illustrious name and a 
ro3^al alliance. The husband of Placidia, who, like most of 
his ancestors, had been invested with the consular dignity, 
might have continued to enjoy a secure and splendid for- 
tune in the peaceful residence of Constantinople ; nor does 
he appear to have been tormented by such a genius as can- 
not be amused or occupied, unless by the administration of 
an empire. Yet Olybrius yielded to the importunities of 
his friends, perhaps of his wife ; rashly plunged into the 
dangers and calamities of a civil war ; and, with the secret 
connivance of the emperor Leo, accepted the Italian purple, 
which was bestowed, and resumed, at the capricious will of 
a Barbarian. He landed without obstacle (for Genseric was 
master of the sea) either at Ravenna, or the port of Ostia, 
and immediately proceeded to the camp of Ricimer, where 
he was received as the sovereign of the Western world. ^°^ 

The patrician, who had extended his posts from the Anio 
to the Milvian bridge, already possessed two quarters of 
Rome, the Vatican and the Janiculum, which are separated 
by the Tiber from the rest of the city; ^^^ and it may be 

icv) Priscus, Excerpt. Legation, p. 74. Procopius de Bell. Vandal. 1. i. c. f5, p. 
191. Eudoxia and her daughter were restored after the death of Majorian, 
Perhaps the ctnisulship of Olybrius (A. D. 464) wati bestowed as a iiuptiai 
present. 

1"' The hostile appearance of Olybrius is fixed (notwithstanding the opinion 
of Pagi) by the duration of his reign. The secret connivance of Leo is acknowl- 
edged by Theophanes and the Paschal Chronicle. We are ignorant of his mo- 
tives ; but in this obscure peiiod, our ignorance extends to the most public and 
important facts. 

^"^ Of the fourteen regions, or quarters, into wliich Rome was divided by 
Augustus, only o??c, the Janiculum, lay on the 'J'uscan side of the Tiber. But, 
in the lif.tji centurv, the V^atican suburb formed a considerable city ; and in the 
ecclesiastial distribution, which had recently been made by .Simi)lirins, the 
reigning pope, two of the seven regions, or parishes of Rome, depended on the 



252 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

conjectured, that an assembly of seceding senators imitated, 
in tlie clioice of Olybrius, tlie forms of a legal election. But 
the body of the senate and jjeople fij-mly adhered to tlie 
cause of Anthemius ; and the more effectual sup})oi-t of a 
Gothic army enabled him to prolong his reign, and the ])ub- 
lic distress, by a resistance of three months, which produced 
tlie concomitant evils of famine and pestilence. At length 
Kicimer made a furious assault on the bridoe of Hadrian, or 
St. Angelo ; and tlie narrow pass was defended witli equal 
valor by the Goths till the death of Gilimer, tlieir leader. 
The victorious troops, breaking down every barrier, rushed 
with irresistible violence into the heai't of the city, and 
Rome (if we may use the language of a contempoiary ] o];e) 
was subverted by the civil fury of Anthemius and Kici- 
mer. •'^^ The unfortunate Anthemius was drjigged from Ins 
concealment, and inhumanly massacred by the command of 
his son-in-law ; who thus added a third, or peihaps a fourth, 
emperor to the number of his victinis. The soldiers, who 
united the rage of factious citizens with the savage manners 
of B-arbarians, were indulged, without control, in the license 
of rapine and murder : the crowd of slaves and plel>eians, 
Avho were unconcerned in the ca ent, could only gain by the 
indiscriminate ])illage ; and the face of the city exhibited 
the strange contrast of stern cruelty and dissolute intem- 
perance.^^*^ Forty days after this calamitous event, the 
subject, not of glory, but of guilt, Italy was delivered, by a 
painful disease, from the tyi-ant Kicimer, who bequeathed 
the command of liis army to his nephcAv Gundobald, one of 
the princes of the Burgundians. In the same year all the 
principal actors in this great revolution were removed from 
the stage ; and the Avhole reign of Olybrius, whose death 
does not betray any symptoms of violence, is included Avith- 
in the term of seven months. He left one daughter, the off- 
spring of his marriage Avith Placidia ; and the family of the 
great Theodosius, tr-ansplanted from Spain to Constantino- 
church of St. Peter. See Njirtlini Eoma Aii1i<^a. p. TT. It would require a 
tedious dissertatiou to mark the cireuinstaiices, iu which I am inclined to depart 
from the topography of that learned Koinan. 

^"'Nuper Antheniii et Ricimeris ( ivili furore puhverea est. Celasius in Epist. 
ad Andromach. apud Baron. A. I) 40r». No. 42, Sigonius (torn. i. 1. xiv. de Occi- 
dentali Tmperio. pn. 5\'2, r,i:]), and Muratori (Annali d'ltalia, tom.lv. pp.308, 
.100), with the aid of a less imperfect MS. of the Historia MisccUa., have illus- 
trated this dark and bloody transaction. 

"" Stich had been the sa>va ac dcformis u'he tota facics. when Pome was 
assaulted and stormed by the troops of A'espasian (see Tacit. Tfist. iii. S2, f^^^ ; 
and every cause of miscliief had since acquired much additional energy. The 
revolution of ages may brinjj r6nnd the same calamites, but ages may" revolve 
witliOut producing a Tacitus to describe them. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 258 

pie, was propagated in the female line as far as the eighth 
generation.^^^ 

Whilst the vac^ant throne of Italy was abandoned to law- 
less Barbarians,^-^ the election of a new colleague was 
seriously agitated in the council of Leo. The empress 
Verina, studious to promote tlie greatness of her own 
family, had married one of her nieces to Julius Nepos, who 
succeeded his uncle Marcellhius m the sovereignty of Dal- 
matia, a more solid possession than the title which he was 
persuaded to accept, of Emperor of the West. But the 
measures of the Byzantine court were so languid and ir- 
resolute, that many months elapsed after the death of An- 
themius, and even of Olybrius, before their destined succes- 
sor could show himself, with a respectable force, to his 
Italian subjects. During that interval. Glycerins, an obscure 
soldier, was invested with the purple by his patron Gundo- 
bald ; but the Burgundian prince was unable, or unwilling, to 
support his nomination by a civil war ; the pursuits of do- 
mestic ambition recalled him beyOnd the Alps,"^ and his 
client was permitted to exchange the Roman sceptre for the 
bishopi-ic of Salona. After extinguishing siich a competitor, 
the emperor Nepos was acknowledged by the senate, by the 
Italians, and by the provincials of Gaul ; his moral virtues, 
and military talents, were loudly celebrated ; and those who 
derived any private benefit from his government, announced, 
in prophetic strains, the restoration of the public felicity.^^* 
Their hopes (if such hopes had been entertained) were con- 
founded within tlie term of a single year; and the treaty of 
peace, which ceded Auvergne to the Visigoths, is the only 
event of his short and iuHorious reig^n. The most faitiiful 
subjects of Gaul were sacrificed, by the Italian emperor, to 
the hope of domestic security ; ^^^ but his repose was soon 

1" See Ducange, FamilijB Byzantin. pp. 74, 75. Areobiiidu.s. wlio appears to 
have married tlie niece of the emperor Justinian, was the eighth descendant of 
the elder Theodosiiis. 

112 '] he last revolutions of the Western empire are faintly marked in Tlieoph- 
ancs (p. 102), Jornandes (c, 45, p. G79), the Chronicle of Murcellinns, and tlie 
Fragments of an anonymons writer, i^ublishe*! by Valesins at the end of Am- 
mianus (pp. 716, 717). If Pliolins had not been so wretchedly concise, we i^hould 
derive much information from this contemporary histories of Malchus and Can- 
didas. See his Extracts, iip. 172-179. 

1" See CTreg. Tnron. 1. ii, c. 2S, in tom. ii. p. 175. Dubos, Hist. Critique, torn. 
i. p. fil3. By the murder or d ;ath of his two brothers, Gundobald acquired the 
sole possession of the kingdom of Burguncly, whose ruin was hastened by their 
discord. 

11* Julius Nepos armis pariter snmmus Augustus ac moribus. Sidonius, 1. v. 
ep. 10, p. 146. Nepos had given to Ecdi'ius the title of Patrician, which Anthe- 
mius had promised, decessoris Anthemii fidem absolvit. See 1. viii. ep. 7, p. 224. 

1'' Epiphanius was sent ambassa<lor from Nepos to llie 'N'isigoths. for the pur- 
pose of ascertaining the finen Imperii /.'«//V,'i (Ennf)dins in SiVmond, tom. i. pp. 
1G65-166!)). His pathetic discourse concealed the disgraceful secret which soon 
excited the just and bitter complaints of the bishop of Clermont. 



254 THE DECLIJfE AXD FALL 

invaded by a furious sedition of tlie Barbarian confederates, 
who, under the command ot Orestes, their general, were in 
full march from Rome to Ravenna. Nepos trembled at theii 
approach ; and, instead of placing a just confidence in the 
strength of Ravenna, he hastily escajjed to his ships, and re- 
tired to his Dalmatian principality, on the opposite coast of 
the Adriatic. By this shameful abdication, he protracted his 
life about five years, in a very ambiguous state, between an 
emperor and an exile, till he was assassinated at Salona by 
the ungi-ateful Glycerins, who was translated, perhaps as the 
reward of his crime, to the archbishopric of Milan.^^^ 

The nations who had asserted their independence after 
the death of Attila, were established, by the right of pos- 
session or conquest, in the boundless countries to the north 
of the Danube ; or in the Roman provinces between the 
river and the Alps. But the bravest of their youth enlisted 
in the army of confederates^ who formed the defence and 
the terror of Italy ;^" and in this promiscuous multitude, 
the names of the Heruli, the Scyrri, the Alani, the Tur- 
cilingi, and the Rugians, appear to have predominated. 
The example of these warriors was imitated by Ores- 
tes,^^^ the son of Tatullus, and the father of the last 
Roman emperor of the West. Orestes, who has been 
already mentioned in this History, had never deserted 
his country. His birth and fortunes rendered him one of 
the most illustrious subjects of Pannonia. When that prov- 
ince was ceded to the Huns, he entered into the service of 
Attila, his lawful sovereign, obtained the office of his secre- 
tary, and was repeatedly sent ambassador to Constantinople, 
to represent the person, and signify the commands, of tl)e 
imperious monarch. The death of that conqueror restored 
him to his freedom; and Orestes might honorably refuse 
either to follow the sons of Attila into the Scythian desert, 
or to obey the Ostrogoths, who had usurped the dominion 
' of Pannonia. He rtreiferred the service of the Italian princes, 
the successors of Valentinian; and, as he possessed the quali- 



"SMalfhns, amidPliot. p. 172. Emiod, Enieram. Ixxxii. in Sirmond. Oper. 
torn. i. p. 1S70. Sotno doubt may, however, be raised on the identity of the em- 
peror and tb(! firobbisliop. 

^17 Onr knowledfre of these mercenaries, M'ho subverted the Western empire, 
is derived from Trooopins (de BeU. Gotiiico, 1. i. c. i. p. ^OS"). The popnlnr opin- 
ion, and tlie recent historians, represent Odoacer in the false lieiit of a a^rniuier^ 
and a l:\nn, vvlio invaded Tlaly with an arniv of forf^iTners, hi", native pnhio'^t«. 

"3 Orestes, qui eo tempore qnando Attila ad Italiamvenit.se illi i"nyit, et 
ejus notarins factus fnerat. .Anonvm. Vales, p. 71G. He i«; mistaken in the date ; 
but we may credit his assertion, that the secretary of Attila was the father of 
Augustulus. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 255 

fications of courage, industry, and experience, he advanced 
with rapid steps in the military profession, till he was ele- 
vated, by the favor of Nepos himself, to the dignities of patri- 
cian, and master-general of the troops. These troops had 
been long accustomed to reverence the character and author- 
ity of Orestes, who affected their manners, conversed with 
them in their own language, and was intimately connected 
with their national chieftains, by long habits of familiarity 
and friendship. At his solicitation they rose in arms ai^ainst 
the obscure Greek, who presumed to claim their obedience ; 
and when Orestes, from some secret motive, declined the 
purple, they consented, with the same facility, to acknowl- 
edge his son Augustulus, as the emperor of the West. By 
the abdication of Nepos, Orestes had now attained the sum- 
mit of his ambitious hopes ; but he soon discovei-ed, before 
the end of the first year, that the lessons of perjury and in- 
gratitude, which a rebel must inculcate, will be retorted 
against himself ; and that the precarious sovereign of Italy 
was only permitted to choose, whether he would be the 
slave, or the victim, of his Barbarian mercenaries. The 
dangerous alliance of these strangei-s had oppressed and in- 
sulted the last remains of Roman freedom and dignity. At 
each revolution, their pay and privileges were augmented ; 
but their insolence increased in a still iiiore extravagant de- 
gree ; they envied the fortune of their brethren in Gaul, 
Spain, and Africa, Avhose victorious arms had acquired an 
independent and perpetual inlieritance ; and they insisted 
on their peremptory demand, that a third part of the lands 
of Italy should be immediately divided among them. Ores- 
tes, with a spirit, which, in another situation, might be en- 
titled to our esteem, chose rather to encounter the rage of 
an armed multitude, than to subscribe the ruin of an inno- 
cent people. He rejected the audacious demand ; and his 
refusal was favorable to the ambition of Odoacer; a bold 
Barbarian, who assured his fellow-soldiers, tliat, if they 
dared to associate under his command, they might soon ex- 
tort the justice which had been denied to their dutiful peti- 
tions. From all the camps and garrisons of Italy, the con- 
federates, actuated by the same resentment and the same 
hopes, impatiently flocked to the standard of this popular 
leader ; and the unfortunate patrician, overwhelmed by the 
torrent, liastily retreated to the strong city of Pavia, tiie 
episcopal seat of the holy Epiphanites. Pavia was immedi- 
ately besieged, the fortifications were stormed, the town was 



^56 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

pillaged; and although the bishop might labor, with much 
zeal and some success, to save the property of the church, 
and the chastity of female captives, the tumult could only 
be appeased by the execution of Orestes.-^^^ His brother 
Paul was slain in an action near Kavenna; and the helpless 
Augustulus, who could no longer command the respect, was 
reduced to implore the clemency, of Odoacer. 

That successful Barbarian was the son of Edecon, who, 
in some remarkable transactions, particularly described in a 
preceding chapter, had been the colleague of Orestes him- 
self.* The honor of an ambassador should be exempt from 
suspicion ; and Edecon had listened to a conspiracy against 
the life of his sovereign. But this apparent guilt was expi- 
ated by his merit or repentance: his rank was eminent and 
cons2:)icuous ; he enjoyed the favor of Attila ; and the 
troops under his command, who guarded, in their turn, the 
royal village, consisted of a tribe of Scyrri, his immediate 
and hereditary subjects. In the revolt of the nations, they 
still adhered to the Huns ; and, more than twelve years after- 
wards, the name of Edecon is honorably mentioned, in their 
unequal contests with the Ostrogoths; which was terminated, 
after tv/o bloody battles, by the defeat and dispei-sion of the 
Sc3aTi.^-^ Their gallant leader, who did not survive this 
national calamity, left two sons, Onulf and Odoacer, to 
struggle with adversity, and to maintain as they might, by 
ra])ine or service, the faithful followers of their exile. Onulf 
directed his steps towards Constantinople, where he sullied, 
by the assassination of a generous benefactor, the fame which 
he had acquired in arms. His brother Odoacer led a wan- 
dering life among the Barbarians of Xoricum, witli a mind 
and a fortune suited to the most desperate adventures; and 
when he had fixed his choice, lie piously visited the cell of 
Severinus, the popular saint of the country, to solicit his 

^" Seo Ennodiua (in Viu Epiplian. Sirmoiul, torn. i. pp. 1669,1670) Tie .adds 
weight to the narrative of Procopius, though we may doubt wliethtr the devil 
aetuiillv contrived the siege of Pavia, to dislrest! the bisho;) mid his liock. 

'-' doriiandes, c. 53, 54, pp. G'Jli-6ii.5. I\I. de liuat (ills'. de.s I'euples de I'En- 
rope. loui. viii pp. 221-22H) lias clearly explained the origin and adventires of 
0(loafer. I am alnu«!. inclined to beU»!ve that he was the same who pillaged 
A ngciK, and corn niaiuUHl a lleeL of Saxon pirates on the cceaii. (ireg. Turoii. 1. 
ii. c. is, ill lorn, ii, p. ITO.t 



* Manso observes that the evidence wludi identifies Edecon, the fa her of 
Odoacer, with the colleague of C)vet;to8, is not conclusive. (Ie8;la> htc de.s Ost- 
Ciothisclien lici«.lies, p, u2. But St. Martin inclines to ngroe with Gibbon, note, 
vi. 7.-).— .M. 

t According to St, Martin there is no foundation for this conjecture, vii. 75. 



OP THE KOMAN EMPIRE, 257 

approbation and blessing. The lowness of the door would 
not admit the lofty stature of Odoacer : he was obliged to 
stoop ; but in that humble attitude the saint could discern 
the symptoms of his future greatness ; and addressing him 
in a prophetic tone, "Pursue'' (said he) "your design; pro- 
ceed to Italy ; you will soon cast away this coarse garment 
of skins', and your wealth will be adequate to the liberality 
of your mind,"^^ The Barbarian, whose daring spirit ac- 
cepted and ratified the prediction, was admitted into the 
service of the Western empire, and soon obtained an honor- 
able rank in the guards. His manners were gradually pol- 
ished, his military skill was improved, and the confederates 
of Italy would not have elected him for their general, unless 
the exploits of Odoacer had established a high opinion of 
his courage and capacity. -^^'^ Their military acclamations 
saluted him with the title of king; but he abstained, during 
his whole reign, from the use of the purple and diadem,^^* 
lest he should offend those princes, whose subjects, by their 
accidental mixture, had formed the victorious army, which 
time and policy might insensibly unite into a gi-eat nation. 
Royalty was familiar to the Barbarians, and the submis- 
sive people of Italy was prepared to obey, without a mur- 
mur, the authority which he sliould condescend to exercise 
as the vicegerent of the emperor of the West. But Odoacer 
had resolved to abolish that useless and expensive office; 
and such is the weight of antique prejudice, tliat it required 
some boldness and penetration to discover the extreme facil- 
ity of the enterprise. The unfortunate Augustulus was 
made the instrument of his own disgrace: he signified his 
resignation to the senate; and that assembly, in their last 
act of obedience to a Roman prince, still affected the spirit 
of freedom, and the forms of the constitution. An epistle 
was addressed, by their unanimous decree, to the emperor 

12^ Vade ad Italiam, vade vilissitnla luinc pellibiis coopertis : sed multis cito 
plurima largiturua. Anonym. Vales, p. 717. He quotes the life of St. Severinus, 
which is extant, and contains much unknown and valuable history ; it was com- 
posed by hi.s disciple Eugippius (A. D. .511) thirty years after his death. See 
Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. torn. xvi. pp. 1G8-1S1. 

122 Theophanes, who culls him a Goth, affirms, that he was educated, nursed 
(Tpai/zei/Tos), in Italy (p. 102) ; and as this strong expression will not bear a literal 
interpretation, it must be explained by long .service in the Imperial guards. 

^'•^ Nomen regis Odoacer assumpsit, cum tamen neque purpura nee regalibus 
uteretur insignlbus. Cassiodor. in Chron. A. D. 47(i. He seems to have assumed 
the abstract title of a king, without applying it to any particular nation or coun- 
try.* 



* Manso observes that Odoacer never called himself king of Italy, did not as- 
sume the purple, and no coins are extant with his name. Geschichte Osfc-Goth. 
Belches, p. 36— "^r 

Vol. III.— 17 



25S THE DECLINE AND FALL 

Zeno, the son-in-law and successor of Leo ; who had lately 
been restored, after a short rebellion, to the Byzantine throne. 
They solemnly "disclaim the necessity, or even the wish, of 
continuing any longer the Imperial succession in Italy; 
since, in their opinion, the majesty of a sole monarch is suf- 
ficient to pervade and protect, at the same time, both tlie 
East and the West. In their own name, and in the name 
of the people, they consent that the seat of universal empire 
shall be transferred from Rome to Constantinople ; and they 
basely renounce the right of choosing their master, tlie only 
vestige that yet remained of the authority which had given 
laws to the world. The republic (they i-epeat that name 
without a blush) might safely confide in tlie civil and mili- 
tary virtues of Odoacer ; and they humbly request, that the 
emperor would invest him with the title of Patrician, and 
the administration of the diocese of Italy." The deputies of 
the senate were received at Constantinople with some marks 
of displeasure and indignation : and when they were ad- 
mitted to the audience of Zeno, he sternly reproached them 
with their treatment of the two emperors, Antliemius and 
Nepos, whom the East had successively granted to the 
prayers of Italy. "The first" (continued he) "you liave 
murdered ; the second you have expelled ; but the second is 
still alive, and whilst he lives he is your lawful sovereign." 
But the prudent Zeno soon deserted the hopeless cause of 
his abdicated colleague. His vanity was gratified by the 
title of sole emperor, and by the statues erected to his honor 
in the several quarters of liome ; he entertained a friendly, 
though ambiguous, correspondence Avith the jKitrician Odoa- 
cer; and he gratefully accepted the Imperial ensigns, tlie 
sacred ornaments of the throne and palace, which the Bar- 
barian was not unwilling to remove from the sight of the 
people.^-* 

In the space of twenty years since the death of Valen- 
tinian, nine emperors had successively disa])peared ; and 
the son of Orestes, a youtli recommended only by his beauty, 
would be the least entitled to the notice of posterity, if his 
reign, which was marked by the extinction of the Roman 
empire in the West, did not leave a memorable era in the 
liistory of mankind. ^^^ The patrician Orestes had married 

124 Malchus, wlioae loss excites our rei'vet, has preserved (in Excerpt. Legat. 
p. 0:5) this extraordiiiaiy embassy from the senate to Zeno. The anonymous 
fraj^'inent (p. 717), and the extract from Candidus (^apiul Phot. p. 176), are likewise 
of some nse. 

^2'' The precise year in which the Westei-n enjpire was extinguished, is not 
poaitively ascertained. Tho vulgar era of A. D. 470 apjKais to have the sanction 



OF THE EOMAN EMPIRE. 259 

the daughter of Count Romulus^ of Petovio in N'oricum : 
the name of Augustus^ notwithstanding the jealousy of 
power, was knovv^n at Aquileia as a familiar surname ; and 
the appellations of the two great founders, of the city and 
of the monarchy, were thus strangely united in the last of 
their successors.^-^ The son of Orestes assumed and dis- 
graced the names of Romulus Augustus; but the first was 
corru])ted into Momyllus, by the Greeks, and the second 
has been changed by the Latins into the contemptible di- 
minutive Augustulus. The life of this inoffensive youth 
was spared by the generous clemency of Odoacer ; who dis- 
missed him, with his whole family, from the Imperial palace, 
fixed his annual allowance at six thousand i:)ieces of gold, 
and assigned the castle of LucuUus, in Campania, for the 
place of his exile or retirement. ^'^'^ As soon as the Romans 
breathed from the toils of the Punic war, they were attract- 
ed by the beauties and the pleasures of Campania ; and the 
country-house of the elder Scipio at Liternum exhibited a 
lasting model of their rustic sim2:>licity.^-^ The delicious 
shores of the Bay of ^Sfaples were crowded with villas ; and 
Sylla applauded the masterly skill of his rival, who had 
seated himself on the lofty promontory of Misenum, that 
commands, on every side, tlie sea and land, as far as the 
boundaries of the horizon.-"^ The villa of Marius was pur- 
chased, within a few years, by Lucullas, and the price had 
increased from two thousand five hundred, to more than 

of authentic chronicles. But the two dates assij?ned by Jomandes (c. 4G, p. 680) 
would delay that great event to the year 479 ; and though M. do Buat has over- 
looked Ai.? evidence, he produces (torn. viii. i)p. 261-288) many collateral circum- 
stances in support of the same opinion. 

'-* See his medals in Ducange <Fam. Byzantin. p. 81), Priscus (Excerpt. Legat. 
p. r,6), Malfei (Ossei-vazioni LeLteraiie, torn. ii. p. 314). We may allege a famous 
and similar case. The meanest subjects of the Roman empire assumed the illus- 
trious name of PatrirAux, which, by the conversion of Ireland, has been com- 
municated to a whole nation. 

127 liigrediens autem Ravennam deposuit Augustulum de regno, cujua infan- 
tiam misertus_ concessit ei sanguinem ; et quia pulcher erat, tamcn donavit ei 
reditum sex millia solidos. et misit cum intra Campaniam cwva. parentibus suis 
libere vivere. Anonym. Vales, p. 716. Jornandes says (c. 46, p. 680), in Lucul- 
lano Campania? castello exilii pcrna damnavit. 

128 See tlie eloquent Declamation of Sener-a (Epist. Ixxxvi). The philosopher 
might have recollected, that all luxury is relative; and that the ehler Scipio, 
whose manners were polished by study and conversation, was himself accused of 
that vice by his nider contempoiarie-!'(Livy, xxix. ID). 

_i29 Sylla, in the language of a soldier, praised his peritia castrametancH (Plin. 
Hist. Natnr. xviii. 7). Ph.Tjdrug, who makes its sliadv walks (hefa viridia) the 
scene of au insipid fable (ii. 5), has thus described the situation ;— 

Casar Tiherius quum petens Neapolim, 
In Misenensem A-illam venissit suam ; 
Qune monte summo posita Lncnlli manu 
Prospectat Siculum et prospicit Tuscum mare. 



260 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

fourscore tliousancl, pounds sterling.^^^ It was adorned by 
the new proprietor with Grecian arts and Asiatic treas- 
ures ; and the liouses and gardens of Luculhis obtained a 
distinguished rank in the list of Imperial j^alaces.^^^ When 
the Yandals became formidable to the sea-coast, the Lucul- 
lan villa, on the promontory of Misenum, gi-adually as- 
sumed the strength and appellation of a strong castle, the 
obscure retreat of the la^t emperor of the West. About 
twenty years after that great revolution, it was couA-erted 
into a church and monastery, to receiA'C the bones of St. 
Severinus. They securely reposed, amidst the broken tro- 
phies of Cimbric and Armenian victories, till the beginning 
of the tenth century; when the fortifications, which might 
afford a dangerous shelter to the Saracens, were demolished 
by the people of Naples. ^^^ 

Odoacer was the first Barbarian who reigned in Italy, 
over a people who had once asserted their just superiority 
above the rest of mankind. The disgrace of the Romans 
still excites our respectful compassion, and we fondly sym- 
pathize with the imaginary grief and indignation of their 
degenerate posterity. But the calamities of Italy had 
gradually subdued the proud consciousness of freedom and 
glory. In the age of Roman virtue the provinces were sub- 
ject to the arras, and the citizens to the laws, of the 
republic ; till those laws were subverted by civil dis- 
cord, and both the city and the provinces became the 
servile property of a tyrant. The forms of the constitu- 
tion, which alleviated or disguised their abject slavery, 
were abolished by time and violence ; the Italians alter- 
nately lamented the presence or the absence of the sov- 
ereigns, whom they detested or despised ; and the succes- 
sion of five centuries inflicted the various evils of military 
license, capricious despotism, and elaborate o])|)res8i()n. 
During the same period, the Barbarians had emerged from 

»3o From seven myriads and a half to two hundred and fifty myriads of draoh- 
mie. Yet even in the possession of Marius, it was a hixuvioiis retirement. The 
Komans derided liis indolence ; they soon bewailed his activity. See Plutarch, 
in Mario, tom. ii. p. 521. 

131 LuculluH had other villas of eqiial, though various, magnific noe, at Bala?, 
Naples, Tusculum, i<to. He boasted that ho changed his climate with the storka 
and cranes. Plutnrch. in Lucull. tom. iii. p. ICo. 

»32 Severinus died in Noricum, A. J). 482. Six years afterwards, his body, 
which scattered miracles as it passed, was transported by his disciples into Italv. 
The devotion of a Neapolitan lady invited the saint to the Lucullan villa, in tlie 
place of Auguatulus, who was probnblv no more. See Baronius (Annal. Eccles. 
A. D. 4%, No. 50, 51) and Tillemont (M(''m. Eccles. torn. xvi. pp. 178-1S1), from the 
original life by Eugippius. The narrative of the last migration of SeverinuB to 
Naples is likewise an authentic piece. 



OF THE EOMAN EMPIRE. 261 

obscurity and contempt, and the warriors of Germany and 
Scythia were introduced into tlie provinces, as the servants, 
the allies, and at length the masters, of the Tloraans, whom 
they insulted or protected. The hatred of the people was 
suppressed by fear ; they respected the spirit and splendor 
of the martial chiefs who were invested with the feonors of 
the empire, and the fate of Rome had lono^ depended on the 
sword of those formidable strangers. The stern Ricimer, 
who trampled on the ruins of Italy, liad exercised the pow- 
er, without assuming the title, of a king ; and the patient 
Romans were insensibly prepared to acknowledge the roy- 
alty of Odoacer and his Barbaric successors. 

The king of Italy was not unworthy of the higli station 
to which his valor and fortune had exalted him : his savage 
manners were polislied by the habits of convei-sation ; and 
he respected, though a conqueror and a Barbarian, the in- 
stitutions, and even the prejudices, of his subjects. After 
an interval of seven years, Odoacer restored the consulshi]> 
of the West. For hhnself, he modestly, or proudly, declined 
an honor which was still accepted by the emperors of the 
East ; but the curule chair was successively filled by eleven 
of the most illustrious senators ; ^^^ and the list is adorned 
by the respectable name of Basilius, whose virtues claimed 
the friendship and grateful applause of Sid on ins, his client. -^^^ 
The laws of the emperors were stricily enforced, and the 
civil administration of Italy was still exercised by the Prae- 
torian praifect and his subordinate ofl[icers. Odoacer de- 
volved on the Roman magistrates the odious and oppressive 
task of collecting the public revenue ; but he reserved for 
himself the merit of seasonable and popular indulgence.^^ 
Like the rest of tlie Barbarians, he had been instructed in 
the Arian heresy ; but he revered the monastic and episco])al 
characters ; and the silence of the Catholics attest the toler- 
ation which they enjoyed. The peace of the city required 
the interposition of his pr^efect Basilius in the choice of a 
Roman pontiff : the decree which restrained the clergy from 

"3 The consular Fasti may be foxind 1n Pa.c:! or Muratori, The consuls named 
by Odoacer, or perliapsby the Koman senate,' appear to liave been acknowledged 
in tlie Eastern empire. 

13* Sidonius ApoUinaris (1. i. epist. 9, p. 22, edit. Sirmond) has compared the 
two leading senators of his time (A. D. 468), Gennadius Avienus and Csecina 
Basihus. To the former he as<i[,'n8 the specious, to the latter the solid, virtues 
of public and private life. A Basilius junior, possibly his son, was consul in the 
year 480. 

135 Epiphanius interceded for tlie people of Pavia ; and the king first granted 
an indulgence of five years, and afterwards relieved them from the opprei-sion of 
Pelagius, the Prsetorian praifect (Enuodius in Vit. St. Epiphan.. in Sirmond. 
Oper. torn. i. pp. 1670-1672). x *- , ^ 



262 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

alienating their lands was ultimately designed for the benefit 
of the people, "vvhose devotion Avould have been taxed to re- 
pair the dilapidations of the church.-^^^ Italy was protected 
by the arms of its conqueror ; and its frontiers were re- 
spected by the Barbarians of Gaul and Germany, who had so 
long insulted the feeble race of Theodosius. Odoacer passed 
the Adriatic, to chastise the assassins of the emperor Nepos, 
and to acquire the maritime province of Dalmatia. He 
passed the Alps, to rescue the remains of Xoricum from 
Fava, or Feletheus, king of the Rugians, who held his resi- 
dence beyond the Danube. The king was vanquished in 
battle, and led away prisoner ; a numerous colony of cap- 
tives and subjects was transplanted into Italy ; and Rome, 
after a long period of defeat and disgrace, might claim the 
triumph of her Barbarian master.^^' 

Notwithstanding the i)rudence and success of Odoacer, 
his kingdom exhibited the sad prosj^ect of misery and deso- 
lation. Since the age of Tiberius, the decay of agriculture 
had been felt in Italy; and it was a just subject of com- 
plaint, that the life of the Roman people depended on the 
accidents of the winds and waves.-^^^ In the division and 
the decline of the empire, the tributary harvests of Egypt 
and Africa were Avith drawn ; the numbers of tlie inhabi- 
tants continually diminished with the means of subsistence ; 
and the country was exhausted by the irretrievable losses 
of war, famine,^^^ and pestilence. St. Ambrose has deplored 
the ruin of a populous district, which had been once adorned 
with the flourishing cities of Bologna, Modena, Regium and 
Placentia."*^ Pope Gelasius was a subject of Odoacer ; and 
lie affirms, with strong exaggeration, that in Emilia, Tuscany, 
and the adjacent provinces, the human species was almost 
extirpated."^ The plebeians of Rome, who were fed by the 

13« See Baronius, Annal. Eccles. A. D. 483, No. 10-15. Sixteen years afterwards 
the h-regular proceedings of Basilius were condemjied by Tope Symniaolius in a 
Koman synod. 

1^^ The wars of Odoacer are concisely mentioned by Paul the Deacon (de Gest. 
Langobard. 1. i. c. 19, p. 757, edit. Grot.), and in the two Chronicles of Cassiodonis 
and Ciispinian. The life of St. Severinus by Eugippins, which the count do 
Buat (Hist, dcs Pcuples, &c., torn. viii. c. 1, 4, 8, 9) has diligently studied, illus- 
trates the ruin of Noricum and the Bavarian antiquities. 

^•"* Tacit. Annal. iii. .53. The Recherches sur I'Administration des Terres chez 
les Romains (pp. .351-361) clearly state the progress of internal decay. 

1^9 A famine, which afHictcd Italy at the time of the irruption of Odoacer, king 
of the Heruli, is eloquently described, in prose and verse, by a French poet (^Lcs 
]\IoiB, torn. ii. pp. 174, 200, edit, in 12nio). I am ignorant from whence he derives 
his information ; but I am well assured that he relates some facts incompatible 
with the truth of liistory. 

1*" See the xxxixth epistle of St. Ambrose, as it is quoted by Muratori, sopra 
le Antichiti Italiane, ton\. i. Dissert, xxi. p. 351. 

Ill .Emilia, Tuscia, ceteraeque provinci-.c in quibus hominum prope nullus ex- 
sistit. Gelasius, Epistt ad Andromachuin, ap. Barouium, Annal Eccles. A. D, 
496, No. 36. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 263 

hand of their master, perislied or disappeared as soon as Ids 
liberality was su2:>pressed ; tlie decline of the arts reduced 
the industrious mechanic to idleness and want ; and the 
senators, who miglit support Avith patience the ruin of their 
country, bewailed their private loss of wealth and luxury.* 
One tliird of those ample estates, to Avhich the ruin of Italy 
is originally imputed, ^'*^ was extorted for the use of the con- 
querors. Injuries were aggravated by insults : the sense of 
actual sufferings was imbittered by the fear of more dread- 
ful evils ; and as new lands were allotted to new swarms of 
Barbarians, each senatoi* was apprehensive lest the arbitrary 
surveyors should approach his favorite villa, or his most 
profitable farm. The least unfortunate were those who sub- 
mitted without a murmur to the power which it was impos- 
sible to resist.' Since they desired to live, they owed some 
gratitude to the tyrant who had spared their lives ; and 
since he was the absolute master of their fortunes, the por- 
tion which he left must be accepted as his pure and volun- 
tary gift.^'*^ The distress of Italy f was mitigated by the 
prudence and humanity of Odoacer, who had bound him- 
self, as the price of his elevation, to satisfy the demands of 
a licentious and turbulent multitude. The kings of the 
Barbarians were frequently resisted, deposed, or murdered, 
by their native subjects, and the various bands of Italian 
mercenaries, who associated under the standard of an elec- 
tive general, claimed a larger privilege of freedom and 
raj^ine. A monarchy destitute of national union, and hered- 
itary right, hastened to its dissolution. After a reign of 
fourteen years, Odoacer M'as op])resscd by the superior 
genius of Theodoric, king of the Ostrogoths ; a hero alike 
excellent in the arts of war and of government, who re- 
stored an age of peace and prosj^erity, and whose name still 
excites and deserves the attention of mankind. 

'■i^ Verumque confitentibus, latif undia perdidere Italiaui. Plin. Hist. Natur. 
xviii. 7. 

'•>•' Such are tlie topics of consolation, or rather of patience, whiclv Cicero (ad 
Faniiliares, Jib. ix. Epist. 17) suygcstf* to his friend Papirius Pa;tus, under the 
military despotism of CsRsar. The argument, however, of " vivere pulcherrinium 
duxi," is more forcibly addressed to a Roman ijhilosopher, who possessed the free 
alternative of life or death. 

* Denina supposes that the Barbarians were compelled by necessity to turn 
their attention to agriculture. Italy, either imperfectly cultivated, or not at all, 
by the indolent or ruined proi^rietors, not only could not f urni.sh the imposts, on 
which the pay of the soldiery depended, but not even a certain sujjply of tlie 
necessaries of life. The neighboring coinitricH were jiow occupied by warlike 
nations ; the supplies of corn from Africa were cut off ; foreign commerce near- 
ly destrovcd ; they could not look for supplies beyond the limits of Italy, through- 
out which the agriculture had been long in a state of progressive but rapid de- 
pression. (Denina, Rev. <ritivlia. 1. v. c. i "(—M. 

t Compare, on the desolation and <'han<'e of property in Italy, Manso, 
Geschichte dcs Ost-Gothischcn Reiches, Part ii. p. 7;J, ct ticq.— M. 



264 THE PECLIXE ASI> FALI^ 



CriAPTER XXXVII, 

OKiGiiN', progk:e:ss, ani> effeOts of the moxasttc life. — 

CONVERSION OF THE 1JARBAKIAN& TO CHRISTIANITY AXI> 

ARIANISM. PERSECUTION OF THE VANDALS IN AFRICA. 

EXTINCTION OF ARIANISM AMONG THE BARBARIANS. 

The indissoluble connection of civil and ecclesiastical 
affairs has compelled^ and encouraged^ me to rMate the prog- 
ress, tlie persecutions, the establishnienty the divisions^ tlie 
iinal triumph, and the gi^adual corruption, of Christianity. 
I liave purposely delayed the consideration of two religious 
events, interesting in the study of human nature, and im- 
portant in the decline and fall of tlie Koman empire. I. The 
institution of the monastic life;^ and, II. The conversion 
of the northern Barbarians. 

I. Prosperity and peace introduced the distinction of the 
vuhjar and the Ascetic Christians.^ Tlie loose and imper- 
fect practice of religion satisfied the conscience of the mul- 
titude. The prince or magistrate, the soldier or merchant, 
reconciled their fervent zeal, and implicit faith, Avith the 
exercise of their profession, the pursuit of their interest, and 
the indulgence of their passions ; but the Ascetics, who 
obeyed and abused tlio rigid precepts of the gospel, Avere in- 
spired by the savnge enthusiasm Aviiich represents man as a 
criminal, and God as a tyrant. They seriously renounced 
the business, and the ])leasures, of the age ; abjured the use 
of A\ ine, of llesh, and of marriage; cliastised their body, 
mortified their affections, and embraced a life of jnisery, as 
tlie price of eternal happiness. In the reign of Constantine, 
the. Ascetics fled from a })r<^fane and degenerate Avorld, to 
perpetual solitude, or religious society. Like the first 

^ Tlie origin of the monastic institution has hcen Jabonously discupsed ])y 
TliomaRsin (Discipline do rl^glisc, t<nn. i. pp. llli)-142G> and Helyot (liist. (k-a 
(Jnlrc» Mona.stiquc'S, toin. i. pp. l-Od). Those authors arc very learned snd lolor 
ably honest, and their dilTerence of opinion kIiows the subject in its full extent. 
Yet the cautions I'rotestant, who distrusts nv)/ popish guides, may consult the 
Bcvcnth book of Bingham's < hristian Antiquities. 

2 See Kuseb. Demonstrat. I\van!r<d. (1. i. pp. '20, 2!, edit. GrnBC. Rob. Slephani, 
Paris, 154')). In hi.H Ecclesiastical History, puldishcd twelve yeara afier the 
Demonstration, Eusebius (1. li. c. 11) a scrls the Chrislianitv of the 'Jherapcntse , 
i)ut ho appears ignorant that a similar institution, was actually revived m Egypt 



OF THE KOMAN EMPIPwE. 265 

Christians of Jerusalem,^* they resigned the use, or the 
property, of their temporal possessions ; established reguLar 
communities of the same sex, and a simiLar disposition ; and 
assumed the names of Hermits^ 3Io7iks^ and AnacJioretSy 
expressive of their lonely retreat in a natural or artificial 
desert- They soon acquired the respect of the world, Avhicli 
they despised ; and the loudest applause was bestowed on 
this Divine Philosophy,^ which surpassed, without tlic aid 
of science or reason, the laborious virtues of the Grecian 
schools. The monks might indeed contend with the Stoics, 
in the contempt of fortune, of pain and of death : the Py- 
tha2:orean silence and submission were revived in their ser- 
-vile discipline ; and they disdained, as firmly as the Cynics 
themselves, all the forms and decencies of civil society. 
But the votad-ies of this Divine Philosophy aspired to imi- 
tate a purer and more perfect model. They trod in the 
footsteps of the prophets, who had retired to the desert ; ^ 
and they restored the devout and contemplative life, Avhich 
Jiad been instituted by the Essen ians, in Palestine and 
Eg3'pt. The ])hiloso])hic eye of Pliny had surveyed with 
astonishment a solitary people, who dwelt among the ])alm- 
trees near the Dead Sea; who subsisted without monev, 
who were propagated without women ; and who derived 
from the disgust and repentance of mankind a perpetual 
supj)ly of voluntary associates.^ 

Egypt, the fruitful parent of superstition, afforded the 

* Cassian (CoHat. xviii. 5) claims this origin for the iu=;titation of fcsnobiteSy 
which t^radually decayed tiU it was rcstore<l by Antony and his disciples. 

- '0(/)«At;n.(jiTa.Toi' yip tl ^prjixa e ? dr,_;pui;ro'j? eA^oycra TTajj i Wtou ;) TOiaVT.; (|)iAo'TO(/)ia, 

These are the expressive wor(l3 of Sozomen, wlio copiously and agreeably de- 
Bcribes (1. i o. 12, 13, H) the orijjin and progress of this i:ioiikish philosophy (see 
Suicer Tliesaii. J-^ccles. toiu. ii p. 1-141). Some modern wi-^ters, Lipsius (tom. iv. 
p. 44S, Manuduct ad Philosoph. Stoic, iii. 13) and La IMothe Je N'aycr (torn. ix. 
de la Vertu des Payens, pp. 228-2G2), have compared the Carmelites to the Pytha- 
goreans, and Ihe Cynics to tlie Capucins. 

^ The Carmelites derive their pedigi-ee, in regular succession, from tlie 
prophet Elijah (s:ie the Theses of Beziers, A. D. 1C82, in Bayle'sKonvelhs de la 
Kepublique d-s Lettres, CEuvrea, torn. i. j). 82, &c., and the prolix irony of the 
Ordres MonasUques, an anonymous work, tom. i. pp. 1-133, Berlin, 1751). Pome, 
and the inquisition of- Spain, sihinced the profane criticism of the Jesuits of 
Flanders (Ilelyot, Hist, dcs Ordres Monastiques, tom. i. pp. 2*^2-30'), and the 
statue of Klijah, the Carmelite, lias been erected in the church of St. Peter 
(Voyages dn P. Labat, tom. iii. p. 87). 

f" Plin. Hist. Natur. v. If). Geiis sola, et in toto orbe prajter ceteras mira, sino 
ull.\ femiui, oinni venere alxlic.ata, sine pecunia. socia palmarum. Ita per si^cu- 
loriuo millia (incl-edihile dictu) gens seterna est iii qui nemo nascitur. Tarn 
foDCunda illia aliorum vitai poenitentia est. He places them just beyond the nox- 
iou; iniUienco of the lake, ami names PZngaddi andMassada as the nearest towns. 
The Lanra, and monastery of St. Sabas. could not be far distant from this place. 
See Roland Palestin., tom. 1 p. 295 ; tom. ii. pp. TG3, 874, 880, 8D0, 

* It has before b.;en shown that the lirst Christian community was not strictly 
coenobitic. See vol. ii.— M. 



266 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

first example of the monastic life. Antony,*^ an illiterate ^ 
youth of the lower parts of Thebais, distributed his patri- 
mony,^ deserted his family and native home, and executed 
his monastic penance with original and intrepid fanaticism. 
After a long and painful novitiate, among the tombs, and 
in a ruined tower, he boldly advanced into the desert three 
days' journey to the eastward of the Nile; discovered a 
lonely spot, Avhich possessed the advantages of shade and 
water, and fixed his last residence on Mount Colzim, near 
the Red Sea ; where an ancient monastery still preserves 
the name and memory of the saint.-^*^ The curious devotion 
of the Christians pursued him to the desert ; and when he 
was obliged to appear at Alexandria, in the face of man- 
kind, he supported his fame with discretion and dignity. 
He enjoyed the friendship of Athanasius, whose doctrine lie 
approved ; and the Egyptian peasant respectfully declined 
a respectful invitation from the emperor Constantine. The 
venerable patriarch (for Antony attained the age of one 
hundred and five years) beheld the numerous progeny which 
liad been formed by his example and his lessons. The pro- 
lific colonies of monks multiplied with rapid increase on the 
sands of Libya, upon the rocks of Thebais, and in the cities 
of the Nile. To the south of Alexandria, the mountain, and 
adjacent desert, of Nitria, were peopled by five thousand 
anachorets ; and the traveller may still investigate the ruins 
of fifty monasteries, which were planted in that barren soil 
by the disciples of Antony.-^^ In the Upper Thebais, the 
vacant island of Tabenne ^^was occupied by Pachomius and 

7 See Athanas. Op. torn. ii. pp. 450-505, and the Vit. Patrum, pp. 26-74, -witli 
Rosweyde's Annotations. Tlie formev is the Greek original ; the latter, a very- 
ancient Latin version by Evagrius, the friend of St. Jerom. 

8 VpaufxaTa fxiy fjLo.^eii' oix rjuecrx^To. Athaiias. toiu. ii. in Vit. St. Anton. p. 
452 , and the assertion of his total ignorance has been received by many of the 
ancients and moderns. But Tilleniont (Mem. Eccles. torn. vii. p. COG) shows, by 
some probable arguments, that Antony could read and write in the Coptic, hig 
native tongue ; and that he was only a stranger lo the Gnck letters. The philo- 
sopher Syncsius (p. 51) acknowledges that the natural genius of Antony did not 
require the aid of learning. 

'•' Arunv autem erant ei treccnta? uberes. et valdo optimae (Vit. Patr. 1. v. p. 
3fi). If the Arura be a square measure of a liumlred Egyptian cubits (Roswcydc, 
Onomasticon ad Vit. Palrum, \^y>. 1014-1015), a)id the Egyptian cubit of all ages 
be cr;u;il to twenty-two English iuclics (Greaves, vol. i. p. 233), the arura will con- 
sist of about three quarters of an I'^uglish acre. 

1" Th'j description of the monastery is given bv Jerom (torn. i. pp. 248, 24i), in 
Vit. Ililarioji) and the P. Ricard. (?dis8ions dii Levant, torn. v. pp. 122-200). 
Their accounts cannot always be reconciled ; the father painted from his fancy, 
and the Jesuit fioni his ex])erionce. 

'1 Jerom, torn. i. p. 14r.. ad Eustocliium. Hist. Lausiac. c. 7, in Vit. Patrum, 
p. 712. The p. Sicard (^Missions du Levant, tom. ii. pp. 22-70) visited and has 
described Ibis desert, whi'-h now contains four monasteries, and twenty or thirty 
monks. See D'Anville, T>escrii)tion d'^ I'Egypte, p. 74. 

' -' Tabe'ine is ,i. small island in the Nile, in the diocese of Tentyra or Dendera, 
between the modern town of Girgo and the ruins of ancient Thebes (D'Anville, 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 



267 



fourteen hundred of his brethren. That holy abbot succes- 
sively founded nine monasteries of men, and one of women ; 
and tlie festival of Easter sometimes collected fifty thou- 
sand religious persons, who followed his angelic rule of dis- 
cipline.^^ The stately and populous city of Oxyrinchus, the 
seat of Christian orthodoxy, had devoted the temples, the 
public edifices, and even the ramparts, to pious and chari- 
table uses ; and the bishop, who might preach in twelve 
churches, computed ten thousand females, and twenty thou- 
sand males, of the monastic profession.-*^ The Egyj^tians, 
who gloried in this marvellous revolution, were disposed to 
hope, and to believe, that the number of the monks was 
equal to the remainder of the people ; ^^ and posterity might 
repeat the saying, which had formerly been applied to the 
sacred animals of the same country. That in Egypt it was 
less difiicult to find a god than a man. 

Athanasius introduced into Home the knowledge and 
practice of the monastic life ; and a school of this new 
philosophy Avas opened by the disciples of Antony, who 
accomi:)anied their primate to the holy threshold of the 
Vatican. The strange and savage appearance of these 
Egyptians excited, at first, horror and contempt, and, at 
length, applause and zealous imitation. The senators, and 
more especially the matrons, transformed their palaces and 
villas into religious houses ; and the naiTOw institution of 
six Vestals was eclipsed by the frequent monasteries, which 
were seated on the ruins of ancient temples, and in the 
midst of the Roman forum.-"^ Inflamed by the example of 
Antony, a Syrian youth, Avhose name Avas Ililarion,^" fixed 
his dreary abode on a sandy beach, between the sea and a 
morass, about seven miles from Gaza. The austere penance, 
in which he persisted forty-eight years, diffused a similar 
enthusiasm ; and the holy man was followed by a train of 

p. 194). M. de Tillemont doubts -whether it was an isle ; but I may condude, 
from his own facts, that the inimiLive name was afterwanls transferred to tha 
great monastery of Ban or Pabau (Mem. Eccles. tom. vii. pp. C78, 688). 

" See ill the Codex Rejiprlarum (published by Lucas Ilolstenius, ]ome, 16G1) a 
preface of St. Jeroni to his Latin version of the Rule of Pachomius, lorn. i. p. Gl. 

" Rufin. c. 5, in Yit. Patrum, p. 450. He calls it civitas ampla valdc et poi)u- 
losa, and reckons twelve churches. Strabo (1. xvii. p. IIGG) and Ammianns (xxii. 
]G)have made honorable mention of Oxyrincbus, whose inhabitants adored a 
small llsh in a magnificent temple. 

^•> Quanta populi habentur in nrbibus, tanta3 pane habentur in desertis multi- 
tudincs monachorum. Rufin. c. 7, in Yit. Patrum, p. 461. He congratulates the 
fortujiate change. 

I'' The introduction of the monastic life into Rome and Italy is occasionally 
mentioned bv Jerom, tom. i. pp. 119, 120, 199. 

" See the 'Life of Hilarion, by St. Jcrom (tom. i. pp. 241, 252>. The stories of 
Paul, Hilarion, and Malolins, bv the sa'tie author, arc admirably told : and the 
only defect of these pleasing compositions is want of truth and common sense. 



268 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

two or three thousand nnachorets, Avhcnevcr he visited the 
innumerable monasteries of Palestine. The fame of Basil ^^ is 
immortal in the monastic history of the East. With a mind 
that had tasted the Learning and eloquence of x\thcns ; with 
an ambition scarcely to be satisfied with the archbishopric of 
Caesarea, Basil retired to a savage solitude in Pontus ; and 
deigned, for a while, to give laws to the spiritual colonies 
which he profusely scattered along the coast of the Black 
Sea. In the West, Martin of Tours,^^ a soldier, a hermit, a 
bishop, and a saint, established tlie monasteries of Gaul; 
two thousand of his disciples followed him to the grave ; 
and his eloquent historian challenges the deserts of TJiebais 
to produce, in a more favorable climate, a champion of 
equal virtue. The progress of the monks was not less rapid, 
or uni\ ersal, than that of Christianity itself. Every prov- 
ince, and, at last, every city, of the empire, was filled with 
their increasing multitudes ; and the bleak and barren isles, 
from Lerins to Lipari, that arise out of the Tuscan Sea, 
were chosen by the anachorets for the place of their volun- 
tary exile. An easy and perpetual intercourse by sea and 
land connected the provinces of the Ivoman world ; and the 
life of Hilarion displays the facility with which an indigent 
hermit of Palestine might traverse Egypt, embark for 
Sicily, escape to Epirus, and finally settle in the Island of 
Cyprus.^^ The Latin Christians embraced the religious in- 
stitutions of Rome. The pilgrims, who visited Jerusalem, 
eagerly copied, in the most distant climates of the earth, 
the faitliful model of the monastic life. The disci2:>les of 
Antony spread themselves beyond the tropic, over the 
Christian empire of >^thiopia.^^ The monastery of Ban- 
chor,^' in Flintshire, which contained above two thousand 

w His original retreat was in a small villaccc on the banks of the Iris, not far 
from Neo-Cicsarea. The leu or twclvo years of his monastic life were disturbed 
by iong and frequent avocations. Some critics have disputed tlie anthcntlcily of 
1)13 Ascetic rules ; but the external evidence is weiglity, and tlicy can only prove 
that it is the work of a real or afrected enthusiast. See Tillemont, IMem. Eccles. 
torn. ix. pp. GoG-(;44- Jlelyot, Hist, des Ordres I\Iona=tiques, torn. i. pp. 175-lSl. 

>' See his life, and the three Dialogues by Sul;)icius Sevcrus, who asserts 
(Dialog, i. ii)) that the booksellers of Home were delighted with the quick and 
ready sale <^)f his popular work. 

20 When Hilarion sailed from Parajtonium to Cape Pachynus, he offered to 
pay his passage with a book of the (lospols. Posthumian, a Gallic monk, who 
li:id visited ICirypt, found a imrchant ship bound from Ab^xandria to IMarscilles, 
and i)erformo"d'the vova^e in thirty days (Sulp. Sever. Dialog, i. 1). Athanasius, 
who addressed his Life of St. Antony to the foreign monks, was obliged to hasten 
the composition, that it might be ready for the sailing of the fleets (torn ii. p. 

451) 

•liCee.Terom (torn. 1. p. 126), Assemanni, Bibliot. Orient, torn. iv. p. 02, pp. 
857-01!), and Geddes, Church History of ^Ethiopia, pp. 29-31. The Abyssiuiau 
inonka a<\hero very strictly to the primitive institution. 

22 Camden's Britannia, vol. i. pp. GGG, GG7. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. _ 269 

brethren, dispersed n riumerous colony among tlie Barba- 
rians of Ireland ; -^ and lona, one of the Hebrides, Avhich 
was ])lanted by the Irish monks, diffused OA^cr the northern 
regions a doubtful ray of science and superstition.-^ 

These unhapi>y exiles from social life were impelled by 
the dark and implacable genius of sui:>erstition. Their mu- 
tual resolution was supported by the example of millions, of 
cither sex, of every age, and of every rank ; and each prose- 
lyte, who entered the gates of a monastery, was persuaded 
that he trod the steep and thorny path of eternal happi- 
ness.^^ But the operation of these religious motives was 
variously determined by the temper and situation of man- 
kind. Reason might subdue, or passion might suspend, 
their influence : but they acted most forcibly on the infirm 
minds of children and females ; they were strengthened by 
secret remorse, or accidental misfortune ; and they might 
derive some aid from the temporal considerations of vanity 
or interest. It was naturally supposed, that the pious and 
humble monks, who had renounced the Avorld to accomplish 
the work of their salvation, were the best qualitied for the 
spiritual government of the Christians. The reluctant her- 
mit was torn from his cell, and seated, amidst the acclama- 
tions of the people, on the episcopal throne : the monas- 
teries of Egypt, of Gaul, and of the East, supplied a regular 
succession of saints and bishops ; and ambition soon dis- 
covered the secret road which led to the possession of 
wealth and honors.^^ The popular monks, whose reputation 
was connected with the fame and success of the order, assid- 
uously labored to multiply the number of their fellow-cap- 
tives. They insinuated themselves into noble and opulent 

^^ All that learning can extract from the rubbish of the dark ages is copiously 
stated by Archbishop Usher in his Britannicarum Ecclesiurum Antiquitates, 
cup. xvi. pp. 425-503- 

^-i This small, though not barren, spot, lona, Hy, orColumbkill, only two miles 
in length, and one mile in breadth, has been distinguished, 1. By the monastery 
of St. Columbia, founded A. D. 5C(j ; whose abbot exercised an extraordinary 
jurisdiction over the bishops of Caledonia, 2. By a classic library, which 
afforded some hopes of an entire Livy ; and, 3, By the tombs of sixty kings, 
Scots, Irish, and Xorwegians, who reposed in holy ground. See Usher (pp. 311, 
3G0-370) ajid Buchanan (Ker. Scot. 1. ii. j). 15, edit, Kuddiman). 

" Chrysostom (in the lirst tome of the Benedictine edition) has consecrated 
three books to the praise and defence of the monastic life. He is encouraged, by 
the example of the ark, to presume that none but the elect (the monks) can pos- 
sibly be saved (1. i. pp. 55, 56). Elsewhere, indeed, he becomes more merciful 
(1. iii. pp. 83, 84), and allows different d-^grees of glory, like the sun, moon, and 
stai-s. In his lively comparison of a king and a monk "(1. iii. pp. llC-121), he sup- 
poses (what is hardly fair) that the king will be more sparingly rewarded, and 
more rigorously punished. 

-« ""i'hoinassin (Discipline de I'Elgise, tom. i. pp. 1426-1469) and Mabillon 
(CEiivrcs Posthumes, tom. il. pp. 115-158). The mouks were gradually adopted as 
apaitof the ecclesiastical hierarchy. 



270 THE DECLIXE AND FALL 

families ; and the specious arts of flattery and seduction were 
ein2)loyed to secure those proselytes who might bestow 
wealth or dignity on the monastic profession. The indig- 
nant father bewailed the loss, perhaps, of an only son ; ^'^ the 
credulous maid was betrayed by vanity to violate the laws of 
nature ; and the matron aspired to imaginary perfection, by 
renouncing the virtues of domestic life. Paula yielded to 
the persuasive eloquence of Jerom;^^and the profane title 
ot mother-in-law of God ^^ tempted that illustrious widow 
to consecrate the virginity of her daughter Eustochium. 
By the advice, and in the company, of her spiritual guide, 
Paula abandoned Rome and her infant son ; retired to the 
holy village of Bethlem ; founded a hospital and four mon- 
asteries ; and acquired, by her alms and penance, an eminent 
and conspicuous station in the Catholic church. Such rare 
and illustrious 23enitents Avere celebrated as the glory and 
example of their age ; but the monasteries were filled by a 
crowd of obscure and abject plebeians,^^ who gained in the 
cloister much more than they had sacrificed in the world. 
Peasants, slaves, and mechanics, might escape from poverty 
and contempt, to a safe and honorable profession ; whose 
apparent hardships are mitigated by custom, by popular 
applause, and by the secret relaxation of disciplined^ The 
subjects of Rome, whose persons and fortunes were made 
responsible for unequal and exorbitant tributes, retired from 
the opi^ression of the Imperial government ; and the pusil- 
lanimous youth preferred the penance of a monastic, to the 
dangers of a military, life. The affrighted provincials of 
every rank, who fled before the Barbarians, found shelter 

27 Dr. Middleton (vol. i. p, 110) liberally censures tlie conduct and writinps of 
Chrysostom, one of the most eloquent and successful advocates for the uiuiii^sLic 
life. , , 

-8 Jerom's devout ladies form a very considerable portion of his works : the 
particular treatise, which he styles the Epitaph of Paula (toni. i. pp. 169-192), is 
an elaborate and extravagant panegyric. The exordium is ridiculously turgid : 
♦* If all the members of my body were changed into tongues, and if all my limbs 
resoxmded with a human voice, yet should I be incapable," &c. 

'^'■> Socrus Dei esse ca^pisti (Jerom, torn. i. p. 140, ad Eustochium). Kufiiius (in 
Hieronym. Op. tom. iv. p. 22:5), who was justly scandali/.ed, asks bis adversary, 
from what Pagan poet he had stolen an expression so impious and absurd. 

•w Nunc autem veniunt ;?/fntmf7i«' ad hanc professionem servitutis Dei, ct ex 
conditione servili. vel etiam liberati, vel propter hoc a Dominis liberati sivo 




xii. p. 079 



31 A Dominican friar (Voyages du P. Labat, torn, i. p. 10), who lodged at Cadiz 
in a convent of Ids brethren, soon understood that their repose was never inter- 
rupted by nocturnal devoUou ; " quoiqu'ou ue laisse pas de eoniier pour 1 eom- 



ipted by 
cation du peuple." 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIPwE. 271 

and subsistence : whole legions were buried in these relig- 
ious sanctuaries ; and the same cause, which relieved the 
distress of individuals, impaired the strength and fortitude 
of the empire.^^ 

Tlie monastic profession of the ancients ^^ was an act of 
voluntary devotion. The inconstant fanatic was threatened 
with the eternal vengeance of the God whom he deserted ; 
but the doors of the monastery were still open for repent- 
ance. Those monks, whose conscience was fortified by 
reason or passion, were at liberty to resume the character of 
men and citizens; and even the spouses of Christ might 
accept the legal embraces of nn earthly lover.^'^ The ex- 
amples of scandal, and the progress of superstition, suggested 
the propriety of more forcible restraints.- After a sufficient 
trial, the fidelity of the novice was secured by a solemn and 
perpetual vow; and liis irrevocable engagement was ratified 
by the laws of the church and state. A guilty fugitive was 
pursued, arrested, and restored to his perpetual prison ; and 
the interposition of the magistrate 02)pressed the freedom 
and the merit, which had alleviated, in some degree, the 
abject slavery of the monastic disciplined^ The actions of 
a monk, his words, and even his thoughts, were determined 
by an inflexible rule,^^ or a capricious superior : . the slight- 
est offences were corrected by disgrace or confinement, ex- 
traordinary fasts, or bloody flagellation ; and disobedience, 
murmur, or delay, were ranked in the catalogue of the most 

*2 See a very sensible preface of Lucas Ilo^stenius to the Codex Regularum. 
The emperors attempted to support the obligation of i)ublic and private duties ; 
but th(i feeble dikes were swei)t away by the torrent of superstitioji ; and Justin- 
ian surpassed the most sanguine wishes of the monks (Thomassin, tom. i. p. 1782- 
1799, and Bingham, 1. vii. c. 3, p. 253).* 

•■« The monastic institutions, paiticularly those of Egypt, about the vear 400, 
are described by four curious and devout travellers ; Kulinus (Vit. Patrum, 1. ii. 
iii. pp. 424-53G), Posthumian(Sulp. Sever, Dialog, i). Palladius (Hist. Lausiac. in 
Vit. Patrum, pp. 709-863), and Cassian (see in tom. vii. Bibliothec. Max. Patrum, 
his four lirst books of Institutes, ajid the twenty-four Collations or Conferences). 

3< The example of Malchns (Jerom, torn. i. p. 2.50), and the desigji of Cassian 
and his friend (Collation, xxiv. 1), are incontestable proofs of their freedom ; 
which is elegantly described by Erasmus in liis Life of St. Jerom. See Chardon, 
Hist, des Sacremens. torn. vi. i)p. 279-300. 

3i See the Laws of Justinian (Novel, cxxiii. No. 42), and of Lewis the Pious (in 
the Historians of France, tom. vi. p. 427), and the actual jurisprudence of France, 
lu Denissart (Decisions, &c., tom. iv. p. 855, &c.). 

36 The ancient Codex Regularum, collected bv Benedict Anianinus, the re- 
former of the monks in the beginning of Ihe ninth centurv, and published in the 
seventeenth, by Lucas Holstenius, contains thirty different rules for men and 
women. Of these, seven were composed in Egvpt, one in the Fast, one in Cap- 
padocia, one in Italy, one in Africa, four in Spain, eight in Gaul, or France, and 
one in England. 

* The emperor Valens, in particular, promulgates a law contra ignaviai quos- 
dam sectatores. qui deserlis civitatum muneribus, captant solitndines ac secreta, 
et specie religionis cum ccetibus monachorum congregantur, Cod. Theod. 1. xii. 
lit. i. leg. C3. — G. 



272 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

heinous sins.^^ j\ blind submission to the commands of the 
abbot, liowcver absurd, or even criminal, they might seem, 
was the ruling principle, the first virtue of the Egyptian 
monks ; and their patience was frequently exercised by the 
most extravagant trials. They were directed to remove an 
enormous rock ; assiduously to water p barren staff, that 
was planted in the ground, till, at the enu of three years, it 
should vegetate and blossom like a tree ; to walk into a fiery 
furnace ; or to cast their infant into a deep pond : and 
several saints, or madmen, have been immortalized in monas- 
tic story, by their thoughtless and fearless obedience.^^ The 
freedom of the mind, the source of every generous and 
rational sentiment, was destroyed by the habits of credulity 
and submission ; and the monk, contracting the vices of a 
slave, devoutly followed the faith and passions of his eccle- 
siastical tyrant. The peace of the Eastern church was in- 
vaded by a swarm of fanatics, incapable of fear, or reason, 
or liumanity ; and the Imperial troops acknowledged, with- 
out shame, that they were much less apprehensive of an en- 
counter with the fiercest Barbarians.^^ 

Superstition has often framed and consecrated the fan- 
tastic garments of the monks : ^^ but their apparent singu- 
larity sometimes i:)roceeds from their uniform attachment 
to a simple and primitive model, which the revolutions of 
fashion have made ridiculous in the eyes of mankind. The 
father of the Benedictines expressly disclaims all idea of 
choice or merit ; and soberly exhorts his disciples to adoi^t 
the coarse and convenient dress of the countries which they 
may inhabit.^^ The monastic habits of the ancients varied 
with the climate, and their mode of life ; and they assumed, 

87 The rule of Colunibaiuis, fo prevalent in the West, inflicts one hundred 
lashes for veiy slight offences (Cod. Keg. part ii. p. 174). Before the lime of 
Charlemagne, the abbots indulged themselves in mutilating their monks, or 
putting out their eyes , a punishment much less cruel than the tremendous vade 
in pace (the subterraneous dungeon or sepulchre) which was Afterwards invented. 
See an admirable discourse of the learned Mabillon ((Euvres Posthumes, torn. ii. 
1). 321-330), who, on thisoccasion, seems to be inspired by the genius of humanity. 
For such an effort, I can forgive his defence of the holy tear of A'endome 
(p. 301-399). 

•■'8 Sulp. Sever. Dialog, i. 12, 13, p. 53;^, &c. Cassian. Institut. 1. Iv. c. 26, 27. 
" ProRcipua ibi virtus ct prima est obedientia.'* Among the Verba seniorum (in 
Vit. Patrum,]. v. p. 017), the fourteenth libel or discourse is on the subject of 
obedience ; and the Jesuit Poswevde, who published that huge vohimo for the 
use of convents, has collected all the scattered pass.'xges in liis two copious 
indexes. 

•''9 Dr. Jortin (Remarks on Ecclesiastical History, vol. iv. p. 161) has observed 
the scandalous valor of the Cappadocian monks, which was exemplified in the 
bani liment of Chrysostom. 

•»'^ f'assinn has simydy, though copiously, described the monastic habit of 
Egypt (Institut. 1. i.), to which Sozomen (1. "ill. c. 14) attributes such allegorical 
meaning and virtue. 

« Regul. Benedict. No. C5,. in Cod Ruegl. part ii, p. 51. 



OF THE KOIMAX EMPIRE, 273 

Avltli the same inclifference, the sheep-skm of the Egy]>tian 
peasants, or the cloak of the Grecian pliilosophers. They 
jillowed themselves tlie use of linen in Egypt, wliere it was 
51 cheap and domestic manufacture; but in the West, they 
rejected such an expensive article of foreign luxury.^- It 
Avas the practice of the monks either to cut or shave their 
hair; they wraj^ped their heads in a, cowl, to escape tlie 
sight of profane objects ; their legs and feet were naked, 
except in the extreme cold of winter; and their sIoav and 
feeble steps were supported by a long staff. The aspect of 
a genuine anachoret was horrid and disgusting: every sen- 
sation that is offensive to man was thought ncceptable to 
God; and the angelic iiile of Tabenne condemned the salu- 
tary custom of bathing the limbs in water, and of anointing 
them with oil.'*^* The austere monks slept on the ground, 
on a hard mat, or a rough blanket; and the same bundle of 
palm-leaves ser\^ed them as a seat in the day, and a pillcw 
in the night. Their original cells were low, narrow liuts, 
built of the slightest materials ; which formed, by the regu- 
lar distribution of the streets, a large and j^opulous village, 
enclosing, within the common w^all, a church, a hospital, 
j^erhaps a library, some necessary offices, a garden, and a 
fountain or reservoir of fresh water- Thirty or forty breth- 
ren composed a family of separate discipline and diet; and 
the great monasteries of Egypt consisted of thirty or forty 
families. 

Pleasure and guilt are synonymous terms in the language 
of the monks, and they discovered, by experience, that rigid 
fasts, and abstemious diet, are the most effectual preserva- 
tives against the impure desires of the ilesh.^^ The rules of 
abstinence, which they imposed, or practised, were not uni- 
form or perpetual; the cheerful festival of the Pentecost 
was balanced by the extraordinary mortification of Lent; 
the fervor of new monasteries was insensibly relaxed ; and 

^'See the Rule of FerreoluB, bigliopof Uflez<No. 31, in Cod. Regnl part ii. p. 
13G)« and of Isidore, bi. li .'p of Seville, (No. i;{, in Cod, Regul i)art ii. p. 21 i). 

*■* Some fjartial iiidiilf^encea were granted for the hands and feet " Totutu autem 
corpus nemo imguet nisi causa inlirmitatis, nee lavabitur aqua nudo corpore, 
nisi languor perspi(;uua sit'* (Ue'ul, rachom, xcii. part i. p. li<). 

** St. Jerom, infitrong,but indiscreet, language, expresses the most important 
vjfie of fasting and abstiiien-ce ; " Non quod Dens universitatis (,'reator et Dond- 
nus, intestlnorum nostrornm rngitCi, et inanitate ventiis, pnlmonisquo ardoro 
delcctetur, sod quod aliler pudioitia tuta esse non possit." <Op.tom. i. p. 32, ad 
Eustochiuin.) See tlie twelfth and twcnty-seoond Collations of Ca^iiian, de Casti- 
tateiWiyV dc Jllusionibus Nocturnis. 



* Athanasius (Vit. AnL c. 47) boasts of Antony's holy horror of cle?.n water, by 
Wlilcli Ilia feet were uneontaminated, except under dire necessity.— M. 

Vol. III.— 18 



274 TTIE r.ECLIXE AXD FALL 

the voracious appetite of the Gauls could not imitate the 
patient and temperate virtue of the Egyptians.*^ The dis- 
ciples of Antony and Pachomius were satisfied with their 
daily pittance,^*^ of twelve ounces of bread, or ratlier bis- 
cuit,^^ which they divided into two frugal repasts, of the 
afternoon and of the evening. It was esteemed a merit, 
and almost a duty, to abstain from the boiled vegetables 
which were provided for the refectory ; but the extraordi- 
nary bounty of the abbot sometimes indulged them with 
the luxuiy of cheese, fruit, salad, and the small dried fish of 
the Nile.^*^ A more ample latitude of sea and river fish w^as 
gradually allowed or assumed; but the use of flesh was long 
confined to the sick or travellers ; and Avhen it gradually pre- 
vailed in the less rigid monasteries of Europe, a singular 
distinction was introduced ; as if birds, whether wild or do- 
mestic, had been less ]U'ofane than the grosser animals of the 
field. Water was the pure and innocent beverage of the 
primitive monks; and the founder of the Benedictines re- 
grets the daily portion of half a pint of wdne, which had 
been extorted fiom him by the intemperance of the age.'**-^ 
Such an allowance miglit be easily supplied by the vine- 
yards of Italy; and his victorious disciples, who passed the 
Alps, the Rhine, and the Baltic, required, in the place of 
wine, an adequate compensation of strong beer or cider. 

The candidate wdio aspired to the virtue of evangelical 
poverty, abjured, at his first entrance into a regular com- 
munity, the idea, and even the name, of all separate or 
exclusive possession.^ The brethren were supported by 

*5 Edacitas in Graeeis ^nla est in Gallis iiatura (Dialog, i. c. 4, p. 521). Cassian 
fairly owns, that the pertect model of abstinence cannot be imitated in Gaul, on 
account of the ajruni teniperies, and the (lualitas nostrfe fragilitatis (Institut. iv. 
Jl). Among the Western rules, that of Colnnibanus is tl>e mos^t austere; he ha»i 
been educated amidst the poverty of Ireland, as rip-id, perhaps, and inflexible as 
the abstemious virtue of Egypt. The rule of Jsidoi^i of Seville is the mildest ; ou 
liolidays he allows the use of flesh. 

*o "Those who drink only water, and haveno nntritious liquors, ought, at least, 
to have a pound and a half (/?/'c?t///^o«r o^lnces) of bread every day." State of 
prisons, p. 40, bv Mr. Howard. 

*' See Cassian. Collat. 1. ii. 19-21. The small loaves, or biscuit, of six ounces 
each, had obtained the name of Pa.rimacia (Kosweyde, Ononiasticon, p. 104r>). 
Pachomius, however, allowed his monks .come latitude in the quantity of their 
food: but }>o made them work in proportion as they ate (Pallad. iuHist. Lausiac. 
c. 38, 39, in Vit. Pattum, 1 viii. pp. 736, 737^. 

«'»See the banquet to which Cassian (Collation viii. 1) was invited by Serenup, 
an Fg-ptian abbot. 

»9 See the Uule of St. Benedict, No. 39, 40 (in Cod. Reg. part ii. pp. 41, 42). 
I.icet. legamus vinnm omnino monaohorum non esse, sed quianostristemporibns 
id monachis per:<uaderi non potest ; he allows them a Konian hemina, a measure 
which may be asceitained from Arbuthnot's Tables. 

^" Sudiexpressions as mt/ book, mj/ cloak, mi/ shoes (Cassian. Institut. 1. iv. c. 
13), were not less severelv j)rohil)ited ajnon<r the Western monks (Cod. llegul. part 
ii. pp. 171, 235, 288) ; and 'the Paile of Columbanns pnnished them with six lasheg. 
The ironical author of the Onh-cs Mnjtastif/ut'.t, who laughs at the fooH-^li nicety 
Of modern convents, seems ignoiaut that the ancients wove equally absurd. 



OF THE ROMAX EMPIRE. 275 

their manual labor; and the duty of labor was strenuously 
recornineiided as a ])enance, as an exercise, and as the most 
laudable means of securing their daily subsistence.^^ The 
garden and fields, wliich the industry of the monks had 
often rescued from the forest or the morass, were diligently 
cultivated by their hands. They performed, without reluc- 
tance, tlie menial offices of slaves and domestics; and the 
several trades that were necessary to provide their habits, 
their utensils, and their lodging, were exercised witliin the 
precincts of tlie great monasteries. The monastic studies 
have tended, for the most part, to darken, rather than to 
dispel, the cloud of superstition. Yet the curiosity or zeal of 
some learned solitaries has cultivated the ecclesiastical, and 
even the profane, sciences ; and posterity must gratefully ac- 
knowledge, that the monuments of Greek and Roman litera- 
ture have been preser\ed and multiplied by their indefatig- 
able jjens.^-^ But the more humble industry of the monks, 
especially in Egypt, was contented with the silent, sedentary 
occupation of making wooden sandals, or of twisting the 
leaves of th^ palm-tree into mats and baskets. The super- 
fluous stock, which was not consumed in domestic use, sup- 
])lied, by trade, the wants of the community: the boats of 
Tabenne, and the other monasteries of Thebais, descended 
the Nile as far as Alexandria ; and, in a Christian market, 
the sanctity of the workmen might enhance the intrinsic 
value of the work. 

But the necessity of manual labor was insensibly super- 
seded. The novice was tempted to bestow his fortune on 
the saints, in whose society he was resolved to spend the re- 
mainder of his life; and the pernicious indulgence of the 
laws permitted him to receive, for their use, any future ac- 
cessions of legacy or inheritance.^^ Melania contributed her 
plate, three hundred pounds weight of silver; and Paula 
contracted an immense debt, for the relief of their favorite 

"1 Two great masters of ecclesiastical science, the P. Thomapsin (Discipline de 
I'Eglise, torn, iii i)p. 10fW)-l 139), and the P. Mabillon (Etudes IVlonastiques, toin. 
i. pp. llG-155), huve seriously examined the manual labor of the monks, which the 
former considers as a merU, and the latter as a (luii/. 

•'■'2 Mabillon (Etudes Monastiques. torn. i. pp. 47-55) has collected many curious 
fact^ to justify the literary labors of his predecessors, both in the East and West. 
Books were copied in the ancient monasteries of Egypt (Cassian. fnstitut. l.iv. c, 
12), a)i<i by the disciples of St. Martin (Snip. Sever, in Yit. Martin, c. 7, p. 473). 
C>iRsio<lorus has allowed an nmple scope for the studies of the monks; and we 
shall not be scandalized, if their jtens sometimes wandered from Chrysostom and 
Augustin to Homer and Virgil. 

w Tliomassin (Discipline de I'Eelise, torn. iii. pp. 118, 145. 146, 171-179) has ex- 
amined the revolution of the civil, canon, and common law. Modern France 
confirms the death which monks have inflicted on themselves, and justly deprives 
them of all right of inheritance. 



276 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

monks ; who kindly imparted the merits of their pr.ij-ers 
and penance to a rich and liberal sinner.^^ Time continu- 
ally increased, and accidents could seldom diminish, the 
estates of the popular monasteries, which spread over the 
adjacent country and cities: and, in the first century of 
their institution, the infidel Zosimus has maliciously ob- 
served, that, for the benefit of the poor, the Christian monks 
liad reduced a great part of mankind to a state of beggary .^^ 
As long as they maintained their oi-iginal fervor, they ap- 
proved themselves, however, the faithful and benevolent 
stewards of the charity, which was intrusted to their care. 
But their discipline was corrupted by })rosperity : they 
gradually assumed the pride of wealth, and at last iiidulged 
the luxury of expense. Their public luxury might be ex- 
cused by the magnificence of religious worship, and the 
decent motive of erecting durable habitations for an im- 
mortal society. But every age of the church has accused 
the licentiousness of the degenerate monks ; Avho no longer 
remembered the object of their institution, embraced the 
vain and sensual pleasures of the world, which they had re- 
nounced,^ and scandalously abused the riches which had 
been acquired by the austei'e virtues of their founders.^"^ 
Their natural descent, from such painful and dangerous vir- 
tue, to the common vices of humanity, will not, })erhaps, 
excite much grief or indignation in the mind of a philos- 
opher. 

The lives of the primitive monks were consumed in pen- 
ance and solitude ; undisturbed by the various occupations 
which fill the time, and exercise the faculties, of reasonable, 
active, and social beings. Whenever they were permitted 
to step beyond the precincts of the monastery, two jealous 

M See Jerom (toin. i. pp. 170, isn). The monk Pambo niade a BuMiine answer 
to Melaiiia, wlio vviBlied to specify the value of her ^ift : " Do you oiler it lo me, 
or to God? If to God, iiK who suepeiids Ihe mountains in a balance, need not be 
informed of the weight of your plate." (Pallad. Ikst. Lausiao.c. 10, in tbe Vit. 
Fatrum, 1. viii. p. 715-) 

"" To woAu fJifpoi; Trj? y^? to/ceitieraj'TO, 7rpo(/)a<r€i tow /u.fTaSi56rai ndyrwv ttvjxoi^, 
■navra-; (ui(: eineh') TTTuixovi KaraorriaavT{<;. Zosini. 1. V. p. 3125. Yet the Wealth of 

Ihe Eastern monks was far surpassed by ilie princely greatDess of the Benedic- 

ti les. 

»' The sixth general council (the Quinisext in Trullo, Tanon xlvii. in Bever- 
id'.re, torn. i. p. 21.'{) restrain.s women from passint: tlie nijiht Jn a male, cr men in 
a female, monasterv. 'Jlie seventh general council (llie weroi'd Niccnc, Canon xx. 
in Heveri<l(Tje, tom. i. p. IVJf)) prohibits the erection of double (t promiscuous mon- 
asteries of both sexes ; but it appears from Balsam(>n, that the prohibition was 
not effectual . (in the irregular pleasures and expenses of the clergy and inonks, 
see Thomassin, tom. iii. pj). b'?;;4-l.'!(!8. 

"7 I have somewber*! luard or read the frank confession of a Benedictine abbot: 
" My vow of poverty has given me a hundred thousand crowns a year; my vow 
of obedience has raised mo t^ the rank of a sovereign prince."—! forget the con- 
sequences of his vow of chastity. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 277 

companions were the mntunl guards and spies of each other's 
actions ; and, after their return, they were condemned to 
forget, or, at least,* to suppress, whatever they had seen or 
lieard in the world. Strangers, wlio professed the orthodox 
faith, were hospitahly entertained in a separate apartment ; 
l)ut their dans^erous conversation was restricted to some 
cliosen elders of approved discretion and fidelity. Except 
in their presence, the monastic slave might not receive the 
visits of his friends or kindred ; and it was deemed liighly 
meritorious, if he afflicted a tender sister, or an aged j^arent, 
hy the obstinate refusal of a word or look.^^ The monks 
themselves passed their lives, without personal attachments, 
among a crowd which had been formed by accident, and 
was detained, in the same prison, by force or prejudice. 
Recluse fanatics have few ideas or sentiments to communi- 
cate : a special license of the abbot regulated the time and 
duration of their familiar visits ; and, at their silent meals, 
they were enveloped in their cowls, inaccessible, and 
almost invisible, to each other.^^ Study is the resource of 
solitude: but education had not prepared and qualified for 
any liberal studies the rnechanics and ])easants Avho filled 
the monastic communities. They might work : but the 
vanity of s|)iritual perfection was tempted to disdain the 
exercise of manual labor ; and tlie industry must be faint 
and languid, which is not excited by the sense of personal 
interest. 

According to their faith and zeal, they might employ 
the day, which they passed in their cells, either in vocal or 
mental prayer: they assembled in the evening, and they 
were awakened in the night, for the public worship of the 
monastery. The precise moment was determined by the 
stars, which are seldom clouded in the serene sky of Egypt ; 
and a rustic horn, or trumpet, the signal of devotion, twice 
intci-ruj^ted the vast silence of the desert.*"'^ Even sleep, 
tlie last refuge of tlie unha])py, wns rigorously measured : 
the vacant hours of the monk heavily rolled along, without 
business or pleasure ; and, before the close of each day, he 
had repeatedly accused the tedious progress of the sun.^'^ In 

5' Pior. ail Egyptian monk, allowed his sister to see him ; but he shut his eyes 
during the whole visit. See Vit. Patriim, 1- iii. p. 504. Many such examples 
might be a<l<le<l. 

••■'The 7th. Ktli, 2Dtli, 30th, 31st, 34th, 57th. 60th, 86th, and 95th articles of the 
Rule of I'uoliomins, imi)Ose most intolerable laws of silence and niortilication. 

w ITio diurnal and nocturnal prayers of the monks are cojiiously discnnsed by 
Cas-ian, in Um third and fourth books of his Institutions, and he constantly pre- 
fers the liturgy, wldch an angel had dictated to the monasteries of Tehenncp. 

w Cassian, from his own experience, describes the acedia, or listlessness of 



278 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

this comfortless state, superstition still pursued and tor- 
mented lier wretched votaries.^^ The repose which they had 
sought in the cloister was disturbed by a tardy repentance, 
profane doubts, and guilty desires; and, while they consid- 
ered each natural impulse as an unpardonable sin, they per- 
petually trembled on the edge of a flaming and bottomless 
abyss. From the painful struggles of disease and despair, 
these unhappy victims were sometimes relieved by madness 
or death ; and, in the sixth century, a hospital was founded 
at Jerusalem for a small portion of tlie austere penitents, 
who were deprived of their senses.^^ Their visions, before 
they attained this extreme and acknowledged term of frenzy, 
have afforded ample materials of supernatural history. It 
was their firm persuasion, that the air, which they breathed, 
was peopled with invisible enemies; with innumerable 
demons, who watched every occasion, and assumed every 
form, to terrify, and above all to tempt, their unguarded 
virtue. The imagination, and even the senses, were deceived 
by the illusions of distempered fanaticism ; and the hermit, 
whose midnight prayer was op2:)ressed by involuntary slum- 
ber, might easily confound tlie phantoms of horror or de- 
light, which had occupied his sleeping and liis waking 
dreams.^^ 

The monks Avere divided into two classes : the Coenohites^ 
who lived under a common and regular discij)line ; and the 
Anachorets^ who indulged their unsocial, independent fanat- 
icism.^^ The most devout, or the most ambitious, of the 
spiritual brethren, renounced the convent, as they liad re- 
nounced the world. Tlie fervent monasteries of Egyi>t, 

miiul and body, to which a monk was exposed, when he sighed to find himself 
alone. Sajpiusqne egredituiet ingieditur cellam, et Solom velut .ad occa;*uni lar- 
dius properanteni crebrius intiietur (Iiistitut. x. ].). 

^■- The temptations and snfferings of Stagirius were communicated by that un- 
fortunate youth to his friend St. Chrysostoni. See Middletou's Works, vol.i- pp. 
107-110 Sonietliing similar introduces the life of every saint; and the fanious 
liiigo, or Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits (vide d'lnigo de Guiposooa, torn. i. 
pp. 29-38), may serve as a memorable example. 

63 Flenry, Hist. Eccl^siastique. tom. vii. p. -16. I have read somewhere, in the 
VitfB Patriinj, but I cannf)t recover the place, that several, I believe mnnii, of the 
monks, who did not reveal tlieir temptations to the abbot, became guilty of sui- 
cide. 

'"'♦ See the seventli and eighth Collations of Cassian, who gravely examinee, why 
tlie demons were grown less active and numerous .»!ince tlie time of St. Antony. 
Kosweyde's copious index to the Vita^ Patrum will point out a variety of infernal 
Bcen(!s. 'i'lie devils were most formidable in a female shape. 

«5 For tlie distinction of the C(pnohifes iindthe //('r7?n7.s-, especially in Egypt, see 
Jerom (tom. i. ji. 4.5, ad Husticum), the first Dialogue of Sulpiciiis Severus, Ku- 
finus (c. 22, ill Vit. Patrum, 1. ii. p. 478), Pall.idius (c. 7, f»i>, in Vit. Patrum, 1. viii. 
pp. 712, 7f)8). and, above all, the eighteenth and nineteenth Collations of Cassian. 
These writers, wlio compare the common and solitary life, reveal the abuse and 
danger of the latter. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 279 

Palestine, and Syria, were surrounded by a Ijcmra^^ a dis- 
tant circle of solitary cells ; and the extravagant penance of 
Hermits was stimulated by applause and emulation.^' They 
sunk under the painful weight of crosses and chains ; and 
their emaciated limbs were confined by collars, bracelets, 
gauntlets, and greaves of massy and rigid iron. All super- 
fluous encumbrance of dress they contemptuously cast 
away ; and some savage saints of both sexes have been ad- 
mired, whose naked bodies were only covered by their long 
hair. They aspired to reduce themselves to the rude and 
miserable state in which the human brute is scarcely dis- 
tinguishable above his kindred animals : and the numerous 
sect of Anachorets derived their name from their lumible 
practice of grazing in the fields of Mesopotamia with the 
common herd."^ They often usurped the den of some wild 
beast whom they affected to resemble ; they buried them- 
selves in some gloomy cavern, which art or nature had 
scooped out of the rock ; and the marble quarries of Thebais 
are still inscribed witli the monuments of their penance.^® 
The most perfect Hermits are supposed to have passed 
many days without food, many nights without sleeji, and 
many years without speaking ; and glorious was the man 
(I abuse that name) who contrived any cell, or seat, of a 
peculiar construction, which might expose him, in the most 
inconvenient posture, to the inclemency of the seasons. 

Among these heroes of the monastic life, the name and 
genius of Simeon Stylites "^ have been immortalized by the 
singular invention of an aerial penance. At the age of 
thirteen, the young Syrian deserted the profession of a 
shepherd, and threw himself into an austere monastery. 
After a long and painful novitiate, in which Simeon was re- 
peatedly saved from pious suicide, he established his resi- 
dence on a mountain, about thirty or forty miles to the east 
of Antioch. Within the space of a mandra^ or circle of 

w Suicer. Thosaur. Ecolesiast. torn. ii. pp. 205, 21ft. TliomafiBin (Discipline de 
I'Eglise.tom. i. pp. 1501. 1502) gives a good account of these cells. When Geras- 
imus founded his nionasteiy in the wilderness of Jordan, it was accompanied by 
a Laura of seventy cells. 

«' Tlifiodoret, in a large volume (the Philotheus in Vit. Patrum, 1. ix. pp. 793- 
863), has collected the lives and miracles of thirty Anachorets. Evagrius (1. i. c. 
12) more briefly celebrates the monks and hermits of Palestine. 

«« Sozomen/l. vi. c. 33- I'he great St. Ephrem composed a panegyric on these 
BocTKoi, or grazing monks CJ'illemont, M6m. Eccles. torn. vii. p. 292). 

69 The P. Sicard (Missions du Levant, tom. ii. pp. 217-233) examined the caverns 
of the Lower Tliehais with wonder and devotion . The inscriptions are in the old 
Syriac character, whicli was used bv tlie Cliristians of Abyssinia. 

'"See Theodoret (in Vit. Patrumj 1. ix. pp. 848-8,54), Antony (in Vit. Patrum, 1. 
i. pp. 170-177), Cosmas (in Asseman. BiVdiot. Oriental, tom. i. pp. 239-253), Eva- 
grius (1. i. c. 13, 14), andTillemont (Mem. Eccles. tom. xv. pp. 347-392). 



280 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

Floncs, to "which lie had attaclied liimself by a pondcronf? 
chain, he ascended a column, Avhich Avas successively raised 
ironi the height of nine, to that of sixty, feet from the 
ground.'^ In this last and lofty station, the Syrian Ana- 
ehoret resisted the heat of thirty summers, and the cold of 
as many Avinters. Habit and exercise instructed him to 
maintain his dangerous situation without fear or giddiness, 
and successively to assume the different postures of devo- 
tion, llii sometimes prayed in an erect attitude, with his 
outstretched arms in the figure of a cross ; but his most 
familiar })ractice was that of bending- his meagre skeleton 
from tlie forehead to the feet ; and a curious spectator, after 
numbering twelve liundred and -forty-four repetitions, at 
length desisted from the endless account. The progress of 
an ulcer in liis thicch "^^ mi2:ht shorten, but it could not dis- 
turb, this cehstial life ; and the patient Hermit expired, 
without descen<]ingfrom his column. A prince, who should 
capriciously inllict such tortures, would be deemed a tyrant ', 
but it Avould surpass the j^ower of a tyrant to im])ose a long 
and miserable existence on the reluctant victims of liis 
cruelty. This voluntary martyrdom must have gradually 
destroyed the sensibility both of the mind and body ; nor 
can it be presumed that the fanatics, who torment them- 
selves, are susceptible of any lively affection from the rest 
of mankind. A cruel, unfeeling temper has distinguished 
the monks of every age and country : their stern indiffer- 
ence, which is seldom mollified by personal friendshif), is 
inflamed by religious hatred ; and their merciless zeal has 
strenuously administered the holy office of the Inquisition. 

The monastic saints, who excite only the contempt and 
]>ity of a philosopher, were respected, and almost adored, by 
the prince and people. Successive crowds of pilgrims from 
Gaul and India saluted the divine pillar of Simeon : the 
tribes of Saracens disputed in arms the honor of his bene- 
diction ; the queens of Arabia and Persia gi-atefully con- 
fessed his supernatural virtue ; and the angelic Hermit was 
consulted by the younger Theodosius, in tiie most impor- 
tant concerns of the church and state. His remains were 

"1 Tljfi narrow circcmference of two cubits, or tliree feet, which Evagrius as- 
signs for the Bumniic of the column, is inconsistent witli reason, with facts, and 
with the rules of architecture. The people who saw it from below might be 
easily deceived. 

•- 1 must not conceal a jtiece of ancient scandal concerning the orisrin of this 
nicer. It has been report* d that the Devil, aHSumintran ane<'lic form, inv't' dhirn 
to Jiseend, like Elijah, iiio a lievy chaiiot. The saint loo hastily laiseil his foot, 
and Satan seized the moment of inflicting this chastisement OJi liis vanity. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIKE, 281 

transported from the mountain of Telenissa, b}^ a solemn 
jn-ocession of tlie patriarch, the master-general of tlic East, 
six bishoi)S, twenty-one counts or tribunes, and six lliousand 
soldiers ; and Antioch revered Ins bones, as her glorious 
ornament and im])regnable defence. The fame of the 
apostles and martyrs was gradually eclipsed by these recent 
and popular Anachorets ; the Christian world fell prostrate 
before their shrines ; and the miracles ascribed to their relics 
exceeded, at least in number and duration, the spiritual ex- 
ploits of their lives. But the golden legend of their livee '* 
was embellished by the artful credulity of their interested 
brethren ; and a believing age was easily ])ersuaded, that 
the slightest caprice of an Egyptian or a Syrian monk 
luid been sufficient to interrupt the eternal laws of the uni- 
verse. The favorites of Pleavcu were accustomed to cure 
inveterate diseases with a touch, a word, or a distant mes- 
sage : and to expel the most obstinate demons from the 
souls or bodies which they possessed. They familiarly 
accosted, or imperiously commanded, the lions and serpents 
of the desert; iufused vegetation into a sapless trunk; sus- 
pended iron on the surface of the water ; passed the Nile on 
the back of a crocodile, and refreshed themselves in a fiery 
furnace. These extravagant tales, which display the fiction, 
without the genius, of poetry, liave seriously affect<jd the 
reason, the faith, and the morals, of the Christians. Then* 
credulity debased and vitiated the faculties of the mind ; 
they corrupted the evidence of history ; and superstition 
gradually extinguished the hostile light of philosophy and 
science. Every mode of religious worship which had been 
])ractised by the saints, every mysterious doctrine Avhich they 
believed, was fortified by the sanction of divine revelation, 
and all the manly virtues were o])presscd by the servile and 
pusillanimous reign of the monks. If it be possible to 
measure the interval between the philosophic writings of 
Cicero and the sacred legend of Theodoret, between the 
character of Cato and that of Simeon, we may appreciate 
the memorable revolution which was accomplished in the 
Roman empire Avithin a ])eriod of five hundred years. 

II. The 2>rogress of Christianity has been marked by two 

T3 I know 7iot how to select or specify the miracles contained in the VUce Pn- 
trumof Kor^weyde, as the number very much exceedsLhe thousand pages of that 
voh:minoiis work. An elegant specimen may be found in the Dialogues of Sul- 
picins Severus. and liis Life of St. Martin. He reveres the monks of Egypt ; yet 
he insults them with the remark, that fhfj/ never raised the dead ; whereas the 
bishop of Tours had restored three dead meu to life. 



282 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

glorious and decisive victories : over the learned and liixn- 
rioiis citizens of the Koman empire ; and over the warlike 
Barbarians of Scythia and Germany, who subverted the 
empire, and embraced the religion, of the Komans. The 
Goths were the foremost of these savage 2:)rosely tes ; and 
the nation was indebted for its conversion to a countryman, 
or, at least, to a subject, worthy to be ranked among the in- 
ventors of useful arts, who have deserved the remembrance 
and gratitude of posterity. A great number of Koman ])ro- 
vincials had been led away into captivity by the Gothic 
bands, who ravaged Asia in the time of GaLlienus ; and of 
these captives, many were Christians, and several belonged 
to the ecclesiastical order. Those involuntary missionaries, 
dispersed as slaves in the villages of Dacia, successively 
labored for the salvation of their masters. The seeds which 
they planted, of the evangelic doctrine, were gradually prop- 
agated ; and before the end of a century, the pious work 
was achieved by the labors of Ulphilas, whose ancestors had 
been ti*ansported beyond the Danube from a small town of 
Cappadocia. 

Ulphilas, the bishop and apostle of the Goths,'^ acquired 
their love and reverence by his blameless life and indefat- 
igable zeal ; and they received, with implicit confidence, 
the doctrines of truth and virtue which he preached and 
practised. He executed the arduous task of translating the 
Scriptures into their native tongue, a dialect of the German 
or Teutonic language : but he prudently suppressed the 
four books of Kings, as they might tend to irritate the fierce 
and sanguinary spirit of the Barbarians. The rude, imper- 
fect idiom of soldiers and shepherds, so ill qualified to com- 
municate any spiritual ideas, was improved and modulated 
by ])is genius: and Ulphilas, before lie could frame his ver- 
sion, was obliged to compose a new alphabet of twenty-four 
letters ; * four of which he invented, to express the peculiar 
sounds that were unknown to the Greek and Latin pronun- 

'* On the subject of Ulphilas, and tho oonvereion of the Goths, see Sozomen, 1. 
vi. c. 37. Socrates, 1. iv. c. .'W. Theodoret, 1. iv. c. 37. riiilostorg. 1. ii. c 5. Tho 
heresy of Philostorgius appears to liave given him superior means of information. 

* This is the Mopto-Gothic alphabet, of which many of the letters are evidently 
formed from the Cireek and Koman. IM. St. Martin, however, contends, that it 
iis impossibh; but that some written alphabet must have been known long before 
amon;^ the Goths, lie supposes that their former letters wore those inscribed on 
the runes, which, being insejiarably connected with tho old idolatrous superstl- 
tions. were proscribed by the Christian missionaries. Everywhere the runes, 
8<) common amontr all the German tribes, disappear after the propagation of Chria- 
ianity. St. Martin, iv. pp. 07, U8.— ]\I. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 283 

ciation.'^^ But the prosperous state of the Gothic churcli 
wns soon afflicted by war and intestine discord, and tlie 
chieftains were divided by religion as well as by interest. 
Fritigern, the friend of the Romans, became the proselyte 
of Ulphilas ; while the haughty soul of Athanaric disdained 
the yoke of the empire and of the gospel. The faith of the 
new converts was tried by the persecution which he excited. 
A wagon, bearing aloft the shapeless image of Thor, ])er- 
haps, or of Woden, was conducted in solemn procession 
through the streets of the camp; and the rebels, who re- 
fused to worship the god of their fathers, were immediately 
burnt, with their tents and families. The character of 
Ulphilas recommended him to the esteem of the Eastern 
court, where he twice appeared as the minister of peace ; he 
pleaded the cause of the distressed Goths, who implored the 
l^rotection of Valens ; and the name of 3Ioses was applied 
to this spiritual guide, who conducted his ])eople through 
the deep waters of the Danube to the Land of Promise.'^^ 
The devout shepherds, who were attached to his person, and 
tractable to his voice, acquiesced in their settlement, at the 
foot of the MaBsian mountains, in a country of woodlands 
and pastures, which supported their flocks and herds, and 
enabled them to purchase the corn and wine of the more 
plentiful provinces. These harmless Barbarians multiplied 
in obscure peace and the profession of Christianity." 

Their fiercer brethren, the formidable Visigoths, univer- 
sally adopted the religion of the Romans, with whom they 
maintained a ])erpetual intercourse, of war, of friendship, or 
of conquest. In their long and victorious march from the 
Danube to the Atlantic Ocean, they converted their allies ; 

75 A mutilated copy of the four Gospels, in the Gothic version, was published 
A. D. li'iG'), and is esteemed tlie most ancient monument of the Teutonic lanjiuage, 
thongli Welstein attempts, by some frivolous conjectures, to deprive Ulphilas of 
the lionor of tlie work. Two of the four additional letters express the Jf^, and our 
own Th. See Simon, Hist. Critique du Nouveau Testament, torn. ii. pp. 219-223* 
Mill. Prolegora. p. 151, edit. Kuster. AVetstein, Prolegom. torn. j. p. 114.* 

'*j Philostorgius erroneously places this passage under the reign of Constan- 
tine -• but I am much inclined to believe that it preceded the great emigration. 




ply some temporal jurisdiction. 



* The Codex Argentens, found in the sixteenth century at Wenden, rear Co- 
h)gne, and now preserved at Upsal, contain almost the entire four Gospels. The 
best edition is that of J. Christ, Zahn, Weissenfels, 1805. In 1702 Knettel discov- 
ered and published from a Palimpsest MS. four chapterH of the Epistle to the 
Romans ; they were reprinted at Upsal, 1703. M. Mai has since that'time discov- 
ered further fragments, and other remains of Mopso-Gotliic literature, from a 
Palimpsest at Milan. Sec Ulphil?e partium ineditarum in Ambrosianid Palimp- 
sestis ab Ang. Maio repertarun specimen. Milan, 4to. 1819.— M. 



284 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

tlicy educntcd the rising generation ; and the devotion whicli 
reigned in tlie camp of Ahiric, or the court of Toulouse, 
jniglit edify or disgrace th.e ])ahices of Rome and Constanti- 
no|)le.'^ During the same period, Christianity was embraced 
by ahnost all the Barbarians, who establislied their kingdoms 
on the ruins of the Western em])ire ; the Burgundians in 
Gaul, the Suevi in Spain, the Vandals in Africa, the Ostro- 
goths in Pannonia, and the various bands of mercenaries, 
that raised Odoacer to the throne of Italy. The Franks and 
the Saxons still persevered in the errors of Paganism ; but 
the Franks obtained the monarchy of Gaul by their submis- 
sion to the example of Clovis ; and the Saxon conquerors of 
Britain were reclaimed from their savage superstition by 
the missionaries of Rome. These Barbarian proselytes dis- 
played an ardent and successful zeal in the proj)agation of 
the faith. The Merovingian kings, and their su(;cessors, 
Charlemagne and the Othos, extended, by their laws and 
victories, the dominion of the cross. Fngland ])roduced the 
a])ostle of Germany; and the evangelic light was gradually 
diffused from the neighborhood of the Rhine, to the nations 
of the Elbe, the Vistula, and the Baltic.'^ 

The different motives which iuHuenced the reason, or 
the passions, of the Barbarian converts, cannot easily be 
ascertained. They were often capricious and accidental ; a 
dream, an omen, the report of a miracle, the example 
of some priest, or Iiero, the charms of a believing 
Avife, and, above all, the fortunate event of a ]>rayer, 
or vow, which, in a moment of danger, they had ad- 
dressed to the God of the Christians.^*^ The early ]n-eju- 
dices of education were insensibly erased by the habits of 
frecpient and familiar society ; the moral precepts of the 
gospel were protected by the extravagant virtues of the 
monks ; and a spiritual theology was supported by the 
A'isible j)Ower of relics, and the pomp of religious worship. 
But the rational and ingenious mode of ])ersuasion, which a 
Saxini bishop ^^ suggested to a poj)ular saint, might some- 

'" At uon ita Clotlii uoii iia VaiuliiH ; inalis licet docto: ibus iiistituti, nioliores 
IniiKMi cliani in hie ])aiLti (niam iiostti. Salviaii, do Uubcrii. Doi, 1. vii. p. 2i;i. 

" INioshci 111 hart Hli;,'Jitiy f'KclcluHl tl>c i)r<>gres.s uf (hi istianity in the Morth, 
from Uio fourth to th(< fourUM-nth ccndny. The i^ubjoct would alTord materials 
for an occlcsiastieal, and even pliilosopliical, liistory, 

8' To pucli aeause hasSoerates (1. vii. e. .'{(») ascribed (he eoiivcrsion of the Bur- 



OF THE RO^tAX EMriRE. 285 

times be employed by the missionaries, who labored for the 
conversion of iniidels. "Admit," says the saa;acioiis dis- 
putant, " whatever they are ])ieased to assei't of the fabulous, 
and carnal, genealogy of their gods and goddesses, who are 
propagated from each other. From this principle deduce 
tlieir imperfect nature, and human infirmities, the assurance 
they were horn^ and the probability that they will die. At 
what time, by what means, from what cause, were the eldest 
of the gods or goddesses produced ? Do they still continue, 
or have they ceased, to propagate ? If they have ceased, 
summon your antagonists to declare the reason of this 
strange alteration. If they still continue, the number of 
the gods must become infinite; and shall we not risk, by the 
indiscreet worship of some impotent deity, to excite the 
resentment of his jealous superior? The visible heavens 
and earth, the whole system of the universe, which may be 
conceived by the mind, is it created or eternal ? If created, 
how, or where, could the gods tliemselves exist before crea- 
tion ? If eternal, how could they assume the emj)ire of an 
independent and preexisting world ? Urge these arguments 
with tem])er and moderation ; insinuate, at seasonable in- 
tervals, the truth and beauty of the Christian revelation ; 
and endeavor to make the unbelievers ashamed, without 
making them angry." This metaj)hysical reasoning, too 
refined, ])erhaps, for the Barbarians of Germany, w^as forti- 
fied by the grosser weight of authority and po])\dar consent. 
Tlie advantage of temporal ])rosperity had deserted the 
Pagan cause, and passed over to the service of Christianity. 
The Romans themselves, the most powerful and enlightened 
nation of the globe, had renounced their ancient supersti- 
tion ; and, if tlie ruin of tlieir empire seemed to accuse the 
efficacy of the new faith, the disgrace was already retrieved 
by the conversion of the victorious Goths. The valiant and 
fortunate Barbarians, who subdued the provinces of the 
West, successively received, and reflected, the same edify- 
ing exam])le. Before the age of Charlemagne, the Christijin 
nations of P^uro])e might exult in the exclusive ]>ossessi()n of 
the temperate climates, of the fertile lands, Avhich ])roduced 
corn, wine, and oil ; Avhile the sJivage idolaters, and their 
helpless idols, were confined to the extremities of the earth, 
the dark and frozen reijions of the North .**"^ 

82 The sword of Cbailemague added weight to the argument ; l)ut when Daniel 
wrote this epistle (A. I). 72.'i), tlie Malion)(!lfui«, who reigned from India to Spain, 
might have retorted it against the Chribtians. 



286 THE DECLINE AND PALL 

Christianity, wn.cn opened the gates of Heaven to the 
Barbarians, introduced an important change in their moral 
and political condition. They received, at tlie same time, 
the use of letters, so essential to a religion whose doctrines 
are contained in a sacred book ; and wliile they studied the 
divine truth, their minds were insensibly enlarged by tlie 
distant view of history, of nature, of the arts, and of society. 
The version of the Scriptures into their native tongue, which 
had facilitated their conversion, must excite among their 
clergy some curiosity to read the original text, to under- 
stand the sacred liturgy of the church, and to examine, in 
the writings of the fathers, the chain of ecclesiastical tradi- 
tion. Tliese spiritual gifts Avere preserved in tlie Greek and 
Latin languages, which concealed the inestimable monu- 
ments of ancient learning. The immortal productions of 
Yirgil, Cicero, and Livy, which were accessible to the 
Christian Barbarians, maintained a silent intercourse be- 
tween the reign of Augustus and the times of Clovis and 
Charlemagne. The emulation of mankind was q^icouraged 
by the remembrance of a more perfect state ; and the flame 
of science was secretly kept alive, to warm and enlighten 
the mature age of the Western world. In the most corrupt 
state of Christianity, the Barbarians miglit learn justice 
from the Icvw^ and mercy from the gospel ; and if the knowl- 
edge of their duty Avas insufiicient to guide their actions, or 
to regulate their passions, they were sometimes restrained 
by conscience, and frequently punished by remorse. But 
the direct authority of religion was less effectual tlian the 
holy communion, which united them with their Christian 
brethren in spiritual friendship. The influence of these 
sentiments contributed to secure their fidelity in the service, 
or the alliance, of the Romans, to alleviate the horrors of 
war, to moderate the insolence of conquest, and to pre- 
serve, in the downfall of the empire, a permanent respect 
for tlie name and institutions of Home. In tlie days of 
Paganism, the priests of Gaul and Germany reigned over 
the people, and controlled the jurisdiction of the magis- 
trates ; and the zealous proselytes transferred an equal, or 
more ample, measure of devout obedience, to the pontiffs 
of the Christian faitli. The sacred cliaracter of tlie bishops 
was sui)ported by their temporal possessions ; they obtained 
an honorable seat in the legislative assemblies of soldiers 
and freemen ; and it was their interest, as well as their duty, 
to mollify, by peaceful counsels, the fierce spirit of the Bar- 



OF THE EOMA^T EMPIRE. 287 

bnrians. Tlie perpetual correspondence of the Latin clergy, 
tlie frequent pilgrimages to Home and Jerusalem, and the 
growing autliority of the popes, cemented tlie union of the 
Christian republic, and gradually produced the similar man- 
ners, and common jurisprudence, which have distinguished, 
f.'om the rest of mankind, the independent, and even hostile, 
nations of modern Euroj^e. 

But the operation of these causes was checked and i-e- 
tarded by the unfortunate accident, Avhich infused a deadly 
poison into the cuj) of Salvation. Whatever niiglit be the 
early sentiments of Ulphilas, his connections with the 
empire and the churcli were formed during the reign of 
Arianism. The apostle of the Gotlis subscribed the creed of 
Kiraini ; j^rofessed with freedom, and perhajjs with sin- 
cerity, that the Sox was not equal, or consubstantial to 
the Father ; ^^ communicated these errors to the clergy 
and people ; and infected tlie Barbaric world with a 
heresy,^^ Avhich the great Theodosius proscribed and ex- 
tinguished among the Romans. The temper and under- 
standing of the new proselytes were not adapted to 
metaphysical subtilties ; but they strenuously maintamed, 
Avhat they had piously received, as the pure and genuine 
doctrines of Christianity. The advantage of preaching and 
exj^ounding the Scriptures in the Teutonic language pro- 
moted the apostolic labors of Ulphilas and his successors ; 
and they ordained a competent number of bishops and pres- 
byters for the instruction of the kindred tribes. The Ostro- 
goths, the Burgundians, the Suevi, and the Vandals, who 
liad listened to the eloquence of the Latin clergy,^^ preferred 
the more intelligible lessons of their domestic teachers ; and 
Arianism was adopted as the national faith of the Avarlike 
converts, who were seated on the ruins of the Western em- 
pire. This irreconcilable difference of religion was a per- 
petual source of jealousy and hatred ; and the reproach of 
Harharian was imbittered by the more odious epithet of 
Heretic. The heroes of the North, who had submitted, with 

83 The opinions of Ulpliilas and the Goths inclined tOBcmi-Arianism, since they 
•would not bay that the Son was a creature, though they hehl conimuniou with 
those who maintained that heresy. Their apostle represented tlio whole contro- 
■versy as a question of tritllng moment, which had been raised hy the passions of 
the clergy. Theodoret, 1. iv. c, '.;". 

«* The Arianism of the Gotlis has been imputed to the emperor Valens : "Ita- 
qne justo Dei judicio ii)si eum A-ivum incenderunt, qui piopterenm etiam niortui, 
vitio erroris arsuri sunt." Orosius, 1. vii. c. 33, j). r.5K Tliiscnu-l sentciu o is con- 
firnied by Tillemont (Mem. Eecles. tom. vi. pp. GOI-CIO), wlio coolly observes, " uji 
seul hommo entraina dans I'enfer iin nombre infini de Septentrionanx, &c.** 
Salvian (de Gubern, Dei, 1. v. pp. 150, 151) idties and excuses their voluntary 
error. 



zbO THE DECLINE AND FALI, 

some reluctance, to believe tli.it all their ancestors ^'ore in 
licll,^*^ were astonished and exasperated to learn, that they 
themselves had only changed the mode of their eternal con- 
demnation. Instead of the smooth applause, whicli Cliris- 
tian kings are accustomed to expect from their royal i)relates, 
the orthodox bishops and their clergy were in a state of 
opposition to the Arian courts; and their indiscreet oppo- 
sition frequently became criminal, and miglit sometimes Le 
dangerous.^^ The pulpit, that safe and sacred organ of 
sedition, resounded with the names of Pharaoh and IIolo- 
fernes ; ^^ the public discontent was inllame<l by the Iioj)e or 
l^romise of a glorious deliverance ; and the seditious saints 
were tempted to 2)i'omote the accomplishment of their own 
predictions. Notwithstanding these provocations, the 
Catholics of Gaul, Spain, and Italy, enjoyed, under the reign 
of the Arians, the free and j^eaceful exercise of their 
religion. Their haughty masters respected tlie zeal of a 
numerous people, resolved to die at the foot of their altnrs; 
and the example of their devout constancy was admired and 
imitated by the Barbarians themselves. The conquerors 
evaded, however, the disgraceful reproach, or confession, of 
fear, by attributing their toleration to the liberal motives 
of reason and humanity ; and wliile they affected the 
language, they imperceptibly imbibed the S2:)irit, of genuine 
Christianity, 

The peace of the church was sometimes interrupted. Tlic 
Catholics were indiscreet, the Barbarians were impatient; 
and the partial acts of severity or injustice, wliich hr.d been 
recommended by tlie Arian clergy, were exaggerated by tlie 
orthodox writers. The guilt of jiersecution may be imputed 
to Euric, king of the Visigotlis; wlio susj^ended the exer- 
cise of ecclesiastical, or, at least, of episcoj^al functions ; and 
punished the popular bisliops of Aquitain with imprison- 
ment, exile, and confiscation.^'^ But the crucd and absurd 

s-' Ornsiiis affirms, in the year 41' (1. vii c 4\, p. 580"), that the Chnrolies of Christ 
(of Uie Catholics) were fillcil with Ilinis. Sucvi. Vaiidald. liurixuiuliar.s. 

f*^ lvadl)0(l, kiii^ of the FrisoiKS, was so miuli j^caiKlalized by this rash decla- 
ration of a lms^ionary, that lie drew back Iiis foot after ho had entered the bap- 
tismal font- See Flcury, Hist. Eocles torn. ix. p. 167. 

«'■ The epistles of Sidonius, bishop ct Clermont, under the Visiroths. and cf 
Avitus, bishop of Vienna, under the Burj^nndians, oxnlani eonielinies m dark 
hints, the general dispositions of the Catholics. The history of Clovis and Th^o- 
dorie will suia;jTest fiome i)artieular facts, 

S3 C.enserie confessed the rosemblanc.-, by the severity with which he punished 
such indiscreet allusions, Victor \'iten.sis, 1. 7, p. 10. 

s'J Such are the contomporarv complaints of Sidonius, bishop of Clermont(l. 
vii. c, G, p. If^'J, He., edit. Sirmond). Ores^ory of Tours, who quotes ihi * epistle (1, 
li. c, 25. in torn. ii. p. 174), extorts an tin wafian table assertion, that ot the nine 
vacancies in Aquitain, Bonia had Jbeen produced by episcopal viarti/rdoms. 



OF THE EOMAN EMPIRE. 289 

enterprise of subduing the minds of a whole people was 
undertaken by the Yandals alone. Genseric himself, in his 
early youth, had renounced the orthodox communion ; and 
the apostate could neither grant, nor expect, a sincere for- 
giveness. He was exasperated to find that the Africans, 
who had fled before him in the field, still presumed to 
dispute his will in synods and churches; and his ferocious 
mind was incapable of fear or of compassion. His Catholic 
subjects were oppressed by intolerant laws and arbitrary 
punishments. The language of Genseric was furious and 
formidable ; the knowledge of his intentions miglit justify 
the most unfavorable interpretation of his actions ; and the 
Arians were reproached with the frequent executions which 
stained the palace and the dominions of the tyrant. Arms 
and ambition were, however, the ruling passions of the 
monarch of the sea. But Hunneric, his inglorious son, who 
seemed to inherit only his vices, tormented the Catholics 
with the same unrelenting fury which had been fatal to his 
brother, his nephews, and the friends and favorites of his 
father ; and even to the Arian patriarch, who was inhumanly 
burnt alive in the midst of Carthage. The religious Avar 
was preceded and prepared by an insidious truce ; persecu- 
tion was made the serious and important business of the 
Vandal court; and the loathsome disease which hastened 
the death of Hunneric, revenged the injuries, without con- 
tributing to the deliverance, of the church. The throne of 
Africa was successively filled by the two nephews of Hun- 
neric ; by Gundamund, who reigned about twelve, and by 
Thrasimund, who governed the nation, about twenty-seven, 
years. Their administration was hostile and oppressive to 
the orthodox party. Gundamund appeared to emulate, or 
even to surpass, tlie cruelty of his uncle ; and, if at length 
he relented, if he recajlecl the bishops, and restored the 
freedom of Athanasian worship, a premature death inter- 
cepted the benefits of his tardy clemency. His brother, 
Thrasimund, was the greatest and most accomplished of the 
Vandal kings, whom he excelled in beauty, prudence, and 
magnanimity of soul. But this magnanimous character 
was degi-aded by his intolerant zeal and deceitful clemency. 
Instead of threats and tortures, he employed the gentle, but 
efficacious, powers of seduction. Wealth, dignity, and the 
royal favor, were the liberal rewards of apostasy; the 
Catholics, who had violated the laws, might purchase their 
pardon by the renunciation of their faith ; and whenever 
Vol.. III.~19 



290 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

Tlirasimund meditated any rigorous measure, he patiently 
waited till the indiscretion of his adversaries furnished him 
with a specious opportunity. Bigotry was his last sentiment 
in the hour of death ; and he exacted from his successor a 
solemn oath, that he would never tolerate the sectaries of 
Athanasius. But his successor, Hilderic, the gentle son of 
the savage Hunneric, preferred the duties of humanity 
and justice to the vain obligation of an im])ious oath ; and 
his accession was gloriously marked by the restoration of 
peace and universal freedom. The throne of that virtuous, 
though feeble monarch, was usurped by his cousin Gelimer, 
a zealous Arian : but the Vandal kingdom, before he could 
enjoy or abuse his power, was subverted by the arms of 
Belisarius ; and the orthodox party retaliated the injuries 
which they had endured.^ 

The passionate declamations of the Catholics, the sole 
historians of this persecution, cannot afford any distinct 
series of causes and events ; any impartial view of the 
characters, or counsels ; but the most remarkable circum- 
stances that deserve either credit or notice, may be referred 
to the following heads ; I. In the original law, which is still 
extant,^^ Hunneric expressly declares (and the declaration 
appears to be correct), that he had faithfully transcribed the 
regulations and penalties of the Imperial edicts, against the 
heretical congregations, the clergy, and the people, who dis- 
sented from the established religion. If the rights of con- 
science had been understood, the Catholics must have con- 
demned their past conduct, or acquiesced in their actual 
sufferings. But they still persisted to refuse the indulgence 
which they claimed. While they trembled under the lash 
of persecution, they praised the laudable severity of Hun- 
neric himself, who burnt or banished great numbers of 
Manichaeans ; ^^ and they rejected, with horror, the ignomin- 
ious compromise, that the disciples of Arius and of Athami- 
sius should enjoy a reciprocal and similar toleration in the 

'^ The original monuments of the Vandal persecution are preserved in the five 
books of the history of Victor Vitensis (de Persecutione Vandalii-a), a bishop 
who was exiled by Hunneric; in the Life of St. Fuli^entius, who was distinguished 
in the persecution of Tlirasimund (in Uiblioth. Max. Patrum. tom. ix. pp. 4-ir>); 
and in the tirst book of the Vandalic War, by tlie impartial Procopins (c. 7,8. }>p. 
lOG, 197, 11)8, 199). Dom Ruinart. the last editor of Victor, has illustrated the 
whole subject with a copious and learned {apparatus of notes and supplement. 
(Paris, ]()9}). 

'• Victor, iv. 2, p. (55. Hunneric refuses the name of Catholics to the Hnmooii^ 
sians. Ho describes, as the veri Divinaj Majestatis cultores. liis own party, wbo 
professed the faith, confirmed by more than a thousand bishops, in the synods of 
Kimini and Seleucia. 

■'••^ Victor, ii. 1, pp. 21,22: Lmulnbilinr * * * videbatur. In the MSS. whicli 
omit this word, the passage is unintelligible. See Ruiuart, Not. p. 164. 



OF THE EOMAN EMPIRE. 291 

territories of the Romans, and in those of the Yandals.^^ 
II. The practice of a conference, which the Catholics had 
so frequently used to insult and punish their obstinate antag- 
onists, was retorted against themselves.^^ At the command 
of Hunneric, four hundred and sixty-six orthodox bishops 
assembled at Carthage ; but when they were admitted into 
the hall of audience, they had the mortification of beholding 
the Arian Cyrila exalted on the patriarchal throne. The 
disputants were separated, after the mutual and ordinary 
reproaches of noise and silence, of delay and precipitation, 
of military force and of popular clamor. One martyr and 
one confessor were selected among the Catholic bishops; 
twenty-eight escaped by flight, and eighty-eight by conform- 
ity ; forty-six were sent into Corsica to cut timber for the 
royal navy ; and three hundred and two were banished to 
the different parts of Africa, exposed to the insults of their 
enemies, and carefully deprived of all the temporal and 
spiritual comforts of life.^^ The hardships of ten years' 
exile must have reduced their numbers ; and if they had 
complied with the law of Thrasimund, which prohibited any 
episcopal consecrations, the orthodox church of Africa must 
have expired with the lives of its actual members. They 
disobeyed, and their disobedience was punished by a second 
exile of two hundred and twenty bishops into Sardinia ; 
where they languished fifteen years, till the accession of the 
gracious Hilderic.^^ The two islands were judiciously 
chosen by the malice of their Arian tyrants. Seneca, from 
his own experience, has deplored and exaggerated the 
miserable state of Corsica,^' and the plenty of Sardinia was 

« Victor, ii. 2, pp. 22, 23. The clergy of Carthage called these conditions 7>fr- 
icufn.vB, and they seem, indeed, to have been proposed as a snare to entrap the 
Catholic bishops-" 

'-* See the narrative of this conference, and the treatment of the bishops, in 
Victor, ii. 13-lH, pp. .35-42, and the whole fourth book, pp. G3-171. The third 
book, pp. 42-62, is entirely tilled by their apology or confession of faith. 

»5 See the list of the African bi.shops, in Victor, pp. 117-140, and Ruinart's 
notes, pp. 215-397. The schismatic name of Drmnfus frefjuently occurs, and they 
appear to have adopted (Hke our fanatics of the last age) the pious appellations of 
JJeoffatn.t, Denqratina, Qiiidvnffffeus. ffdhetrleum., &c.* 

*"» Fulgent. Vit. c. 16-20. Thrasimund affected the praise of moderation and 
learning;" and Fulgentius addressed three books of controversy to the Ariau 
tyrant, whom he styles /?/tssim« Rex. Biblioth. Maxim. Patruin, torn. ix. p. 41. 
Only sixty bishops are mentioned as exiles, in the life of Fulgentius; they are 
increased to one hundred and twenty by Victor Tunnunensis and isidpre; but 
the number of two hundred and twenty is specified in the Historia Miscdla, and 
a short aullientic chronicle of the times. See RuiJiart, pp. 570-571. 

y^ See the base and insipid epigrams of the Stoic, who could not support exile 
with more fortitude tlian Ovid. (Jorsi<;a might not produce com, wine, or oil; 
but it could not be destitute of grass, water, and even tire. 



• These names appear to have been Aitroduced by the Donatists.— M. 



292 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

overbalanced by the unwholesome quality of the air.®^ III. 
The zeal of Genseric and his successors, for tlie conversion 
of the Catholics, must have rendered them still more jealous 
to guard the purity of the Vandal faith. Before the churches 
were finally shut, it was a crime to appear in a Barbarian 
dress ; and those who presumed to neglect the royal mandate 
were rudely dragged backwards by their long hair.°® The 
palatine officers, who refused to profess the religion of their 
prince, w^ere ignominiously stripped of their honors and 
employments ; banished to Sardinia and Sicily ; or con» 
demned to the servile labors of slaves and peasants in the 
fields of Utica. In tlie districts which had been peculiarly 
allotted to the Yandals, the exercise of the Catholic worship 
was more strictly prohibited ; and severe penalties were 
denounced against the guilt both of the missionary and the 
proselyte. By these arts, the faith of the Barbarians was 
preserved, and tlieir zeal was inflamed r they discharged, with 
devout fury, the office of spies, informers, or executioners; 
and whenever their cavalry took the field, it was the favorite 
amusement of the march to defile the churches, and to insult 
the clergy of the adverse faction.-^^^ IV. The citizens who 
had been educated in the luxury of the Roman province, were 
delivered, with exquisite cruelty, to the Moors of the desert. 
A venerable train of bishops, presbyters, and deacons, with 
a faithful crowd of four thousand and ninety-six persons, 
whose guilt is not precisely ascertained, were torn from 
their native homes, by the command of Ilunneric. During 
the night they were confined, like a herd of cattle, amidst 
their own ordure: during the day they pursued their march 
over the burning sands ; and if they fainted under the heat 
and fatigue, they were goaded, or dragged along, till they 
expired in the hands of their tormentors. ^*^^ These unhap])y 
exiles, when they reached the Moorish huts, might excite 
the compassion of a people, wdiose native humanity was 
neither improved by reason, nor corrupted by fanaticism : 
but if they escaped the dangers, they were condemned to 
share the distress, of a savage life. V. It is incumbent on 

^8 Si ob gravitatem coeli iuterissent, inle damiuim. Tacit- Amial. ii. 85. Tn 
this application, Thrasiinund would have adopted the reading of some critics, 
utile daftinuni. 

^ See these preludes of a general persecution, in Victor ii. 3, 4, 7, and the two 
edicts of Huniieric, 1. ii. p. 35, 1. iv. p. G4, 

'"" See Proc'opius de Bell. Vandal. 1. i. c. 7, pp. 197, 108. A Moorish prince en- 
deavored to propitiate the God of the Christians, by his diligence to erase the 
marks of the Vandal sacrilege. 

i'^' See this story in Victor, ii. 8-12, pp. 30-34. Victor describts the distress of 
tliese confessoys as 3.11 eye-witness. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 293 

the authors of peioecution previously to reflect, whether 
they are determined to support it in the last extreme. They 
excite the flame which they strive to extinguish ; and it 
soon becomes necessary to chastise the contumacy, as well 
as the crime, of the offender. The fine, which he is unable 
or unwilling to discharge, exposes his person to the severity 
of the law ; and his contempt of lighter penalties suggests 
the use and propriety of capital punishment. Through tlie 
veil of fiction and declamation we may clearly perceive, that 
the Catholics, more especially under the reign of Ilunneric, 
endured the most cruel and ignominious treatment.^^^ Re- 
spectable citizens, noble matrons, and consecrated A^irgins, 
were stripped naked, and raised in the air by pulleys, with 
a weight suspended at their feet. In thfs painful attitude 
their naked bodies were torn with scourges, or burnt in the 
most tender parts with red-hot plates of iron. The ampu- 
tation of the ears, the nose, the tongue, and the right hand, 
was inflicted by the Arians ; and although the precise num- 
ber cannot be defined, it is evident that many persons, 
among whom a bishop ^^^ and a proconsul ^°^ may be named, 
were entitled to the crown of martyrdom. The same honor 
has been ascribed to the memory of Count Sebastian, who 
professed the Nicene creed with unshaken constancy; and 
Genseric might detest, as a heretic, the brave and ambitious 
fugitive whom he dreaded as a rival .■''^^ YI. A new mode 
of conversion, which might subdue the feeble, and alarm 
the timorous, was employed by the Arian ministers. They 
imposed, by fraud or violence, the rites of baptism ; and 
punished the apostasy of the Catholics, if they disclaimed 
this odious and profane ceremony, which scandalously vio- 
lated the freedom of the will, and the unity of the sacra- 
ment. ^°® The hostile sects had formerly allowed the validity 
of each other's baptism ; and the innovation, so fiercely 
maintained by the Vandals, can be imputed only to the ex- 
ample and advice of the Donatists. YII. The Arian clergy 
surpassed in religious cruelty the king and his Vandals ; but 

i"2 Seethe fifth book of Victor. His passionate complaints are confimied by 
the sober testimony of Procopius, and the public declaration of the emperor Jus- 
tinian. Cod. 1. i. tit. xxvii. 

I'w Victor, ii. 18, p. 41. 

104 Victor, V. 4, pp. 74, 75. His name was Victorianus, and he was a wealthy 
citizen of Adrumetum, who enjoyed the confidence of the king ; by whose favor 
he had obtained the otfice, or at least the title, of proconsul of Africa. 

1'"^ Victor, i. 6, pp. 8, 9. After relatint; the firm resistance and dexterous 
reply of rount Sebastian, he adds, quare alio generis argument© postea bellico- 
8um virum occidit. 

ii» Victor, V. 12, 13. Tillemont, M6m. Eccles. tom. vi. p. 609. 



294 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

they were incapable of cultivating the spiritual vineyarrl, 
which they were so desirous to ] ossess. A patriarch ^^" 
might seat himself on the throne of Carthnge ; some bishops, 
in the j^rincipal cities, might usurp the phice of their rivals ; 
but the smallness of their numbers, and their ignorance of 
the Latin language,^^^ disqualified the Barbarians for the 
ecclesiastical ministry of a great church ; and the Africans, 
after the loss of their orthodox pastors, were dei:)rived of 
the public exercise of Christianity. YIII. The emperors 
were the natural protectors of the Homoousian doctrine; 
and the faithful people of Africa, both as Romans and as 
Catholics, preferred their lawful sovereignty to the usurpa- 
tion of the Barbarous heretics. During an interval of peace 
and friendship, Hunneric restored the cathedral of Carthage ; 
at the intercession of Zeno, who reigned in the East, and of 
Placidia, the daughter and relict of emperors, and the sister 
of the queen of the Yandals.^^^ But this decent regard was 
of short duration ; and the haughty tyrant displayed his 
contempt for the religion of the empire, by studiously arrang- 
ing the bloody images of persecution, in all the principal 
streets though which the Roman embassador must pass 
in his way to the palace.^^*^ An oath was required from 
the bishops, who were assembled at Carthage, that they 
would support the succession of his son Ililderic, and that 
they would renounce all foreign or transmarine correspond- 
ence. This engagement, consistent, as it should seem, with 
their moral and religious duties, Avas refused by the more 
sagacious members ^^^ of the assembly. Their refusal, faintly 
colored by the pretence that it is unlawful for a Christian 
to swear, must provoke the suspicions of a jealous tyrant. 

The Catholics, oppressed by royal and military force, 
were far sui^erior to their adversaries in numbers and learn- 

*0T Primate was more properly tlic title of the bishop of Carthage ; but the 
name of ;>a/ria?-c/t was given by the sects aiul iialioiis to their principal ecclesi- 
astic. See Thomassiii. Discipline de I'Eglise, torn. i. p]>. 155, 158. 

i«s The patriarch Cyrila himself publicly declared, that he did not understand 
Latin (Victor ii. IS, p. 4i;): Is'escio Latine ; and he mi<j:ht converse with lolcriible 
ease, without being capable of disputing or preaching in that langungc. His 
Vandal clergy were still more ignorant ; and small conlidence could be placed in 
the Africans who had conformed. 

109 Victor ii. 1, 2, p. 22. 

110 Victor, V. 7, p. 77. He appeals to the ambassador himself, whose name was 
Uranius. 

1" Astntiores, Victor, iv. 4, p. 70. He plainly intimates that their quotation of 
the gospel " Non jurabitis in toto," was o"nlv meant to elude the obligation of an 
inconvenient oath. The fortv-six bishops who refused were banished to Corsica : 
the three hundred and two who swore were distributed through the pvovinces of 
Africa. 



OF THE ROM AX EMPIRE. 295 

ing. "With the same weapons which the Greek "^ and Latin 
fathers had ah-eady provided for the Arian controversy, 
they repeatedly silenced, or vanquished, the fierce and illit- 
erate successors of Ulphilas. The consciousness of tlieir 
own supei'iority might have raised them above the arts and 
passions of religious warfare. Yet, instead of assuming 
8uch honorable pride, the orthodox theologians were tempted, 
"by the assurance of impunity, to compose fictions, which 
must be stigmatized with the epithets of fraud and forgery. 
They ascribed their own 2:)olemical works to the most ven- 
erable names of Christian antiquity ; the characters of Athan- 
asius and Augustin were awkwardly personated by Vigilius 
and his disciples ; ^^^ and the famous creed, which so clearly 
expounds the mysteries of the Ti-inity and the Incarnation, 
is deduced, with strong probability, from this African 
school.-^^^ Even the Scriptures themselves were profaned 
by their rash and sacrilegious hands. The memorable text, 
which asserts the unity of the three who bear witness in 
heaven, ^^^ is condemned by the universal silence of the ortho- 
dox fathers, ancient versions, and authentic man user ipts.-^^*^ 

112 Fulgentius, bishop of Ruspae, in the Byzacene province, was of a senatorial 
family, and had received a liberal education. He could repeat all Homer and 
Menander before he was allowed to study Latin, his native to.gue (Vit. Fulgent. 
c. 1). Many African bishops might undei'stand Greek, and many Greek theo- 
logians were translated into Latin. 

"^ Compare the two prefaces to the Dialogue of Vigilius of Tliapsus (pp, 118, 
119, edit. Chifiet). He might amuse his learned reader with an innocent fiction ; 
but the subject was too grave, and the Africans were too ignorant. 

11* The P. Quesnel started this opinion, which has been favorably received. 
But the three following irulhs, however surprising they may seem, are notn uni- 
versally acknowledged (Gerard Vossius, tom. vi. pp. 516-51i2. Tillemont, Mem. 
Eccles. tom. viii. pp. 667-671). 1. St. Athanasius is not the author of the creed 
which is so frequently read in our churches. 2. It does not appear to liave 
existe I within a century after his death. 3. It was originally composed in the 
Latin tongue, and, consequently, in the Western provinces. Gennadius. patriarch 
of Constantinople, was so miicli amazed by this extraordinary comj^sition, that 
he frankly proiiounced it to be the work of a drunken man. Petav. Dogmat. 
Theologica, tom, ii, 1. vii. c. S, p. 6^7. 

"5 I John, V. 7. See Simon, Hist. Critique du Nonveau Testament, part i. c. 
xviii. pp. 20:i-2I8 ; and part ii. c. ix. pp. 9;)-12l ; and the elaborate Prolegomena 
and Annotations of Dr. Mill and Wetstein to their editions of the Greek Test;i- 
ment. In 1689, the Papist Simon strove to be free; in 1707, the Protestant Mill 
wished to be a slave ; in 1751, the Armenian Wetstein used the liberty of his 
times, and of his sc'ct.* 

"6 01 ail the MSS. now extant, above fourscore in number, some of which are 
more than 1200 years old CWetstein ad loc). The orfhorJoc copies of the Vaticnn, 
of the Complutensian editors, of Robert Stephens, are become invisible ; and the 
two MSS. of Dublin and Berlin are unworthv to form an exception. See Emlyn's 
Works, vol. ii. pp. 227-255. 269-2't9 ; and INT. de Missy's four ingenious letters, in 
tom. viii. and ix. of the Journal Britannique. 



* This controversv has continued to be agitated, but witli declining ijiterest, 
even in the more religious part of the community ; and may now, ])e considered 
to have terminated in an almost general acquiesence of the hiarned in the con- 
olu'^ions of Porson in his Letters to Travis. See the pamphlets of the late 
Bishop of Salisbury and of Crito Cantabrigionsis, Dr. Turton of Cambridge.— M. 



296 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

It was first alleged by the Catholic bishops whom Hiinneric 
summoned to the conference of Carthage."' An allegorical 
interpretation, in the form, perhaps, of a marginal note, in- 
vaded the text of the Latin Bibles, which were renewed and 
corrected in a dark period of ten centuries."^ After the in- 
vention of printing,"^ the editors of the Greek Testament 
yielded to their own prejudices, or those of the times ;^"^* 
and the pious fraud, which Avas embraced A^ith equal zeal at 
Kome and at Geneva, has been infinitely multiplied in every 
country and every language of modern Europe. 

Tlie example of fraud must excite suspicion : and the 
specious miracles by which the African Catholics have de- 
fended the truth and justice of their cause, may be ascribed, 
with more reason, to their own industry, than to tlie visible 
protection of Heaven. Yet the liistorian, who views this 
religions conflict witli an impartial eye, may condescend to 
mention mie preternatural event, which will edify the de- 
vout, and surprise the incredulous. Tipasa,^-^ a maritime 
colony of Mauritania, sixteen miles to fho east of Csesarea, 
hatl been distinguished, in every age, by tlie orthodox zeal 
of its inhabitants. They had braved the fury of the Donat- 
ists;^^ they resisted, or eluded, the tyranny of the Arians. 
The town was deserted on the approach of an heretical 
bishop : most of the inliabitants who could procure ships 
passed over to the coast of Spain ; and the unhappy rem- 
nant, refusing all communion with the usurper, still pre- 
sumed to hold their pious, but illegal, assemblies. Their 

'^7 Or, more properly, by tlie fcmr bishops who composed and published the 
profession of faith in the name of their brethren. They styled this text, luce 
cifirius (A^ictor A'itensis de Persecixt. A^•^^d;U. ]. iii. e. 11, p. 54). Itisquoted soon 
afterwards by the Afiican polemics, A^isiliiis and Fulgentius. 

118 In the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the Bibles were corrected by Lanf rane^ 
archbishop of Canterbury, and by Nicholas, cardinal and librarian of the Komau 
church, secundum orthodoxam tidem (Welstein, Prolefrom. pp. 84. s'S). Notwith- 
standing these corrections, the passage is still wanting in twenty-tive Latin JVISS. 
(Wetstein ad loc), the oldest and the fairest ; two qualities seldom united, except 
in manuscripts. 

ii'J The art wliich the Germans had invente^l was applied in Italy to the pro- 
fane writers of Rome and Greece. The original Greek of the New Testament 
was published about the same time (A.D. 1514, 151(5. 1520), by the industry of 
Erasmus, and the munificence of Cardinal Ximenes. The Coniplntensian 
Polyglot cost the cardinal .W.OOO ducats. See Mattaire, Annal. Typogiaph. lorn, 
ii. pp. 2-8, 125-13.S ; and AVetstein, Prolegomena, pp. 116-127. 

120 The three witnesses have been established in our Greek Testaments by the 
jiTudence of Erasmus; Wxa honest bigotry of the Com pint en.sian editors; the 
typographic;)! frnnd, or error, of Robert Stephens, in the placing a crochet ; and 
tiie deliberate falsehood, or strange misapprehension, of Theodore Beza. 

121 Plin. Hist. Natural, v. 1. Itinerar. AA'esseling, p. 1.5. Cellarins, Geograph. 
Antiq. torn. ii. part ii. p. 127. Tliis Tipnsa (which must not be confounded with 
another in Numidia) was a town of some note, since A^'espasian endo"'ed it with 
the riglit of Latium. 

122 Optatus Milevitanus de Schism. Donatist. 1. ii. p. 38. 



OF THE KOMAN EMPIRE. 297 

disobedience exasperated the cruelty of Hunneric. A mili- 
tary count was despatched from Carthage to Tipasa : he 
collected the Catholics in the Forum, and, in the presence 
of the whole province, deprived the guilty of their right 
hands and their tongues. But the holy confessors continued 
to s])eak without tongues; and this miracle is attested by 
Victor, an African bisho]), Avho published a history of the 
persecution within two years after the event. ^-^ '' If any 
one," says Victor, " should doubt of tlie truth, let him re- 
pair to Constantino])le, and listen to the clear and perfect 
language of Kestitutus, the sub-deacon, one of these glorious 
sufferers, who is now lodged in the palace of the emperor 
Zeno, and is respected by the devout em})ress." At Con- 
stantinople we are astonished to find a cool, a learned, and 
unexce])tionable witness, Avithout interest, and without pas- 
sion. JEneas of Gaza, a Platonic philosopher, has accurately 
described his own observations on these African sufferers. 
*' I saw them myself: I heard them speak: I diligently in- 
quired by Avhat means such an articulate voice could be 
formed without any organ of speech : I used my eyes to ex- 
amine the report of my ears : I ojiened their mouth, and 
saw that the whole tongue had been completely torn away 
by the roots ; an operation which the physicians generally 
suppose to be mortal." ^^* The testimony of ^neas of Gaza 
might be confirmed by the superfluous evidence of the em- 
peror Justinian, in a perpetual edict; of Count Marcellinus, 
in liis Chronicle of the times ; and of Pope Gregory the 
First, who had resided at Constantinople, as the minister of 
the Roman pontiff.^^^ They all lived within the compass of 
a century ; and they all appeal to their personal knowledge, 
or the public notoriety, for the truth of a miracle, Avhich was 
repeated in several instances, displayed on the greatest thea- 
tre of the world, and submitted, during a series of years, to 
the calm examination of the senses. This supernatural gift 
of the African confessors, who spoke without tongues, will 

323 Victor Vitenpis, v. 6, p. 76. Ruinart, pp. 483-487. 

124 yEneas Gaztous iu Theophrnsto, in Bibliuth. Patrum, torn. viii. pp. 664, G65, 
He was a Christian, and composed this Dialogue (tho Thcophrastus) on the im- 
mortality of the soul, and the resurrection of the body ; lesides twenty-live 
Epistles, still extant. See Cave (Hist, latteraria, p. 297), and Fabrjcius (Biblioth, 
Grajc. torn. i. p. 422). 

i2o Justinian. Codex, 1. i. tit. xxvii. Marcellin. in Chron. p. 45, in Thesaur. 
Teniporum Scaliger. Procopius, de Bell. Vandal. 1. i. c. 7, p. 190. Gregor, 
Maynus, Dialog, iii. 32. None of these witnesses have specified the nunibei- of 
the confessors, which is fixed at sixty in an old menology (apud liuinart. p. J8(;). 
Two of them lost their speech by fornication ; but the miracle is enlianccd by 
the singular instance of a boy who had never spoken before his tongue was cut 
out. 



298 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

command the assent of those, and of those only, who ah-eady 
believe, that their language was pure and orthodox. But 
the stubborn mind of an infidel is guarded by secret, incura- 
ble suspicion ; and the Arian, or Socinian, who has seriously 
rejected the doctrine of the Trinity, will not be shaken by 
the most plausible evidence of an Athanasian miracle. 

The Vandals and the Ostrogoths persevered in the pro- 
fession of Arianism till the final ruin of the kingdoms which 
they had founded in Africa and Italy. The Barbarians of 
Gaul submitted to the orthodox dominion of the Franks ; 
and Spain was restored to the Catholic church by the volun- 
tary conversion of the Visigoths. 

This salutary revolution ^'^^ was hastened by the example 
of a royal martyr, whom our calmer reason may style an 
ungrateful rebel. Leovigild, the Gothic monarcli of Spain, 
deserved the respect of his enemies, and the love of his sub- 
jects ; the Catholics enjoyed a free toleration, and his Arian 
synods attempted, without much success, to reconcile their 
scruples by abolishing the unpopular rite of a second bap- 
tism. His eldest son Hermenegild, who was invested by his 
father with the royal diadem, and tlie fair principality of 
Boetica, contracted an honorable and orthodox alliance with 
a Merovingian princess, the daughter of Sigebert, king of 
Austrasia, and of the famous Brunechild. The beauteous 
Ingundis, who was no more than thirteen years of age, was 
received, beloved, and persecuted, in the Arian court of 
Toledo ; and her religious constancy was alternately as- 
saulted with blandishments and violence by Goisvintha, the 
Gothic queen, who abused the double claim of maternal 
authority. ^^' Incensed by her resistance, Gojsvintha seized 
the Catholic princess by her long hair, inhumanly dashed 
her against the ground, kicked her till she was covered with 
blood, and at last gave orders that she should be stripped, 
and thrown into a basin, or fish-pond. ^^^ Love and honor 
might excite Hermenegild to resent this injurious treatment 
of his bride ; and he was gradually persuaded that Ingundis 

^26 See the two general historians of Spain, Mariana (Hist, de "Rebus ITispaniae, 
torn. i. 1. V. c. 12-15, T)p. 182-191) ami Fcrrcras (French translation, toni. ii. pp. 
206-247). jNIariana almost forgets that he is a Jesuit, to assume the style and 
spirit of a Roman classic. Ferreras, an industrious compiler, reviews his facts, 
and rectifies his chronology. 

>2' Goisvintha successively married two kings of the Visigoths ; Athanigild, to 
whom she bore Brum-cliild, the mother of Ingundis ; and Leovigild, whose two 
sons, Heremenegild and Hecared, were the issue of a fornu'r maniage. 

'-« IracuiulinK funjre succiuisa, adpreheusam per comam capitis puoUam in 
terrani conlidit, et diu calcibus verberatam, ac sanguine cruentatam, jussit ex- 
spoliari, et i)iscinje immergi. Greg. Turon. 1. v. c. 30, in torn. ii. p. 255. Gregory 
la one of our best originals for this portion of history. 



OF THE EOMAN EMPIRE. 299 

suffered for the cause of divine truth. ITer tender com- 
plaints, and the weighty arguments of Leander, archbishop 
of Seville, accomplished his conversion ; and the heir of the 
Gothic monarchy was initiated in the Nicene faith by the 
solemn rites of confirmation. ^^^ The rash youth, inflamed 
by zeal, and perhaps by ambition, was tempted to violate 
the duties of a son and a subject ; and the Catholics of 
Spain, although they could not complain of persecution, ap- 
plauded his pious rebellion against an heretical father. The 
civil war was protracted by the long and obstinate sieges of 
Merida, Cordova, and Seville, which had strenuously es- 
poused the i^arty of Hermenegild. He invited the orthodox 
Barbarians, the Suevi, and the Franks, to the destruction of 
his native land ; he solicited the dangerous aid of the Ro- 
mans, who possessed Africa, and a part of the Spanish coast; 
and his holy ambassador, the archbishop Leander, effectu- 
ally negotiated in person with the Byzantine court. But 
the hopes of the Catholics were crushed by the active dili- 
gence of a monarch who commanded the troops and treas- 
ures of Spain ; and the guilty Hermenegild, after his vain 
attempts to resist or to escape, was compelled to surrender 
himself into the hands of an incensed father. Leovigild was 
still mindful of that sacred character; and the rebel, de- 
spoiled of the regal ornaments, was still permitted, in a de- 
cent exile, to profess the Catholic religion. His repeated 
and unsuccessful treasons at length provoked the indignation 
of the Gothic king ; and the sentence of death, which he 
pronounced with apparent reluctance, was privately exe- 
cuted in the tower of Seville. The inflexible constancy with 
which he refused to accept the Arian communion, as the 
price of liis safety, may excuse the honors that have been 
paid to the memory of St. Hermenegild. His wife and in- 
fant son were detained by the Romans in ignominious cap- 
tivity; and this domestic misfortune tarnished the glories of 
Leovigild, and imbittered the last moments of his life. 

His son and successor, Recared, the first Catholic king of 
Spain, had imbibed the faith of his unfortunate brother, 
which he supported with more prudence and success. In- 
stead of revolting against his father, Recared patiently 
expected the hour of his death. Instead of condemning his 
memory, he piously supposed, that the dying monarch had 

129 The Catholics who admitted the baptism of heretics repeated tlie vite. or, 
as it was afterwards styled, the sacrament, of confirmation, to which they 
ascribed many mystic and marvellous prerojja fives, both visible and invisible. 
See Chardon, Hist, des Sacremens, torn. i. pp. 405-552. 



800 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

nbjured the errors of Arianism, and recommended to his son 
the conversion of the Gothic nation. To accomplish that 
salutary end, Recared convened an assembly of the Arian 
clergy and nobles, declared himself a Catholic, and exhorted 
them to imitate the example of their prince. The laborious 
interpretation of doubtful texts, or the curious pursuit of 
metaphysical arguments, would have excited an endless con- 
troversy ; and the monarch discreetly proposed to his illiter- 
ate audience two substantial and visible arguments, — the 
testimony of Earth and of Heaven. The Earth had sub- 
mitted to the Nicene synod : the Romans, tlie Barbarians, 
and the inhabitants of Spain, unanimously professed the 
same orthodox creed ; and the Visigoths resisted, almost 
alone, the consent of the Christian world. A superstitious 
age was j)repared to reverence, as the testimony of Heaven^ 
the preternatural cures, which were performed by the skill 
or virtue of the Catholic clergy ; the baptismal fonts of Osset 
in Boetica,^^*^ which were spontaneously replenished each 
year, on the vigil of Easter; ^^^ and the miraculous shrine of 
St. Martin of Tours, which had already converted the Suevic 
prince and people of Gallicia.^^^ The Catholic king encoun- 
tered some difficulties on this important change of the 
national religion. A conspiracy, secretly fomented by the 
queen-dowager, was formed against his life ; and two counts 
excited a dangerous revolt in the Narbonnese Gaul. But 
Recared disarmed the conspirators, defeated the rebels, and 
executed severe justice; which the Arians, in their turn, 
might brand with the reproach of persecution. Eight 
bishops, whose names betray their Barbaric origin, abjured 
their errors; and all the books of Arian theology were 
reduced to ashes, with the liouse in which they had been 
purposely collected. The whole body of the Visigoths and 
Suevi were allured or driven into the pale of the Catholic 
communion ; the faith, at least of the rising generation, was 
fervent and sincere ; and the devout liberality of the Bar- 
barians enriched the churches and monasteries of Spain. 

130 Osset or Julia Constantia, was opposite to Seville, on the northern side of 
the Boelis (Plin. Hist. Natur. iii. 3) : ami the authentic reference of Gregory of 
Tours (Hist. Francor. 1. vi. c. 43, p. 28S) deserves more credit than the name of 
Lusitania (de Gloria Martvr. c. 24), which has heen eagerly emhraced by the vain 
and supi^rstitious Portuguese (Ferreras, Hist- d'Espagne, torn. n. p. 166). 

131 This miracle was skilfully performed. An Arian king sealed the doors, 
and dug a deep trench round the church, without being able to intercept the 
Easter Supply of baptismal water. , 

i:i2 Ferreras (torn. ii. pp. 108-175, A.D. 550) has illustrated the difficulties which 
regard the time and circumstances of the conversion of the Suevi. Iney Ixaa 
been recently united by Leovigild to the Gothic monarchy of Spain. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 301 

Seventy bishops, assembled in the council of Toledo, received 
tlie submission of their conquerors; and the zeal of the 
Spaniards improved tlie Nicene creed, by declaring the pro- 
cession of the Holy Ghost from the Son, as well as from the 
Father ; a weighty point of doctrine, wliich produced, long 
afterwards, the schism of the Greek and Latin churches.^'^^ 
The royal proselyte immediately saluted and consulted 
Pope Gregory, surnamed the Great, a learned and holy pre- 
late, whose reign was distinguished by the conversion of 
heretics and infidels. The ambassadors of Recared respect- 
fully offered on the threshold of the Vatican his rich presents 
of gold and gems ; they accepted, as a lucrative exchange, 
the hairs of St. John the Ba])tist ; a cross, which enclosed a 
small piece of the true wood ; and a key, that contained 
some particles of iron, which had been scraped from the 
chains of St. Peter.^^^ 

The same Gregory, the spiritual conqueror of Britain, 
encouraged the j)ious Theodelinda, queen of the Lombards, 
to proj)agate the Nicene faith among the victorious savages, 
whose recent Christianity was polluted by the Arian heresy. 
Her devout labors still left room for the industry and suc- 
cess of future missionaries; and many cities of Italy were 
still disputed by hostile bishops. But the cause of Arianism 
was gradually suppressed by the weight of truth, of interest, 
and of example; and the controversy, which Egypt had 
derived from the Platonic school, Avas terminated, after a 
war of three hundred years, by the final conversion of the 
Lombards of Italy. ^^^ 

The first missionaries who preached the gospel to the 
Barbarians, appealed to the evidence of reason, and claimed 
the benefit of toleration. ^*° But no sooner had they estab- 
lished their spiritual dominion, than they exhorted the 
Christian kings to extirpate, without mercy, the remains of 
Roman or Barbaric superstition. The successors of Clovis 
inflicted one hundred lashes on the peasants who refused to 

133 Thisarldition to the Nicene, or rather, the Coiistantinopolitan creed, was first 
made ill the eighth council of Toledo, A.D. G53 ; but it was expressive of the 
popular doctrijie (Gerard Vossius, torn. vi. p. 527, de tribus Synibolis). 

13* See Gregor. Magn. 1. vii. epist. 12G, apud Baronium, Anual. Eccles. A.D. 
599, No. 25, 2G. 

i3J Paul Warnefrid (de Gestis Laugobard. 1. iv. c. 44, p. 153, edit Grot.) allows 
that Arianism still prevailed under the reign of Rotharis (A.D. 6.36-052). Tlie 
pious deacon does not attempt to mark the precise era of the national conversion, 
which was accomplished, however, before the end of the seventh century. 

130 Quorum tidei et conversioni it a congrutulatus esse rex perhibetur, us 
nulluin tamen cogeret ad Christianismuni * * * Didiceret eiiim a doetoribut 
auctoribusque sute salutis, servitium Christi voluntarium nou coactitium esse 
debere. Bedse Hist. Ecclesiastic, 1. i. c. 26, p. 62, edit. Smith. 



302 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

destroy their idols ; the crime of sacrificing to the demons 
was punished by the Anglo-Saxon laws with the heavier 
penalties of imprisonment and confiscation ; and even the 
wise Alfred adopted, as an indispensable duty, the extreme 
rigor of the Mosaic institutions.'^^^ But tlie j)unishment and 
tlie crime were gradually abolished among a Christian 
people ; the theological disputes of the schools were sus- 
pended by propitious ignorance ; and the intolerant spirit 
which could find neither idolaters nor heretics, was reduced 
to the persecution of the Jews. That exiled nation had 
founded some synagogues in the cities of Gaul; but Spain, 
since the time of Hadrian, was filled with their numerous 
colonies.^^^ The wealth which they accumulated by trade, 
and the management of the finances, invited the pious 
avarice of their masters ; and they might be opj^ressed with- 
out danger, as they had lost the use, and even the remem- 
brance, of arms. Sisebut, a Gothic king, who reigned in 
the beginning of the seventh centur}^, proceeded at once to 
the last extremes of persecution .^^^ Ninety thousand Jews 
were compelled to receive the sacrament of baptism ; the 
fortunes of the obstinate infidels were confiscated, their 
bodies were tortured ; and it seems doubtful wliether they 
were permitted to abandon their native country. Tlie exces- 
sive zeal of the Catholic king was moderated, even by the 
clergy of Spain, who solemnly pronounced an inconsistent 
sentence : that the sacraments should not be forcibly im- 
posed ; but that the Jews who had been baptized should be 
constrained, for the honor of the church, to ])ersevere in the 
external practice of a religion which they disbelieved and 
detested. Their frequent relapses provoked one of the suc- 
cessors of Sisebut to banish the whole nation from his 
dominions ; and a council of Toledo published a decree, 
that every Gothic king should swear to maintain this salu- 
tary edict. But the tyrants were unwilling to dismiss the 
victims, whom they delighted to torture, or to deprive 
themselves of the industrious slaves, over whom they might 

137 See the Historians of France, torn. iv. p. 114 ; and Wilkins, Leses Anjzlo 
SaxonicaR, pp. 11, 31. Siquis sacrificiuin immolaverit praeter Deo soli morte 
moriatur. 

'•'*' The Jews pretend that they were introduced into Spain by the fleets of 
Solomon, and the arms of Nebiicliadiiezzar ; that Hadrian transported forty 
tliousand fnmilies of the tribe of Judah, and ten thousand of tlie tribe of Benja- 
min, <.*-c. BMsnaco, HNt. <ics Jnifs, torn. A'ii. c. 9, pp. 240— 250. 

'•''' Isidore, at that time archbishop of Seville, nientions, disapproves, and con^ 
pratulates, the zeal of Sisebut (Chron. Goth. p. 728). Baronins (A.D. 614. No. 41) 
assigns the number on the evidence of Almoin (1. iv. c. 22); but the evidence is 
weak J and I have not been able to verify the quotations (Historians of France, 
torn. lii. p. 127). 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 303 

exercise a lucrative oppression. The Jews still continued 
in Spain, under the weight of the civil and ecclesiastical 
laws, which in the same country have been faithfully tran- 
scribed in the Code of the Inquisition. The Gothic kinoes 
and bishops at length discovered, that injuries will produce 
hatred, and that hatred will find the opportunity of revenge. 
A nation, the secret or professed enemies of Christianity, 
still multiplied in servitude and distress; and the intrigues 
of the Jews promoted the rapid success of the Arabian con- 
querors. ^^'^ 

As soon as the Barbarians withdrew their powerful sup- 
port, the unpopular heresy of Arius sunk into contempt and 
oblivion. But the Greeks still retained their subtle and 
loquacious disposition : the establishment of an obscure doc- 
trine suggested new questions, and ncAv disputes ; and it 
was always in the power of an ambitious prelate, or a 
fanatic monk, to violate the peace of the church, and, per- 
haps, of the empire. The historian of the empire may over- 
look those disputes wdiich were confined to the obscurity of 
schools and synods. The Manichasans, wiio labored to 
reconcile the religions of Christ and of Zoroaster, had 
secretly introduced themselves into the provinces : but 
these foreign sectaries were involved in the common dis- 
grace of the Gnostics, and the Imperial laws were executed 
by the public hatred. The rational opinions of the Pela- 
gians w^ere propagated from Britain to Rome, Africa, and 
Palestine, and silently expired in a superstitious age. But 
the East was distracted by the Nestorian and Eutychian con- 
troversies; which attempted to explain the mystery of the 
incarnation, and hastened the ruin of Christianity in her 
native land. These controversies were first agitated under 
the reign of the younger Theodosius : but their important 
consequences extend far beyond the limits of the })resent 
volume. The metaphysical chain of argument, the contests 
of ecclesiastical ambition, and their political influence on 
the decline of the Byzantine empire, may afford an interest- 
ing and instructive series of history, from the general 
councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon, to the conquest of the 
East bv the successors of Mahomet. 

140 Basnage (torn. viii. c. 13 pp. 3J^8-400) faithfully reprefients the state of the 
Jews ; hilt lie mijrlit have added from the oaiioiis of the Spanish councils, and 
the laws of the \ isicroths, many curious circumstances, essential to his subject, 
though they are foreign to mine.* 



♦ Compare Milman, Hist, of Jews, iii. 256, 266.— M. 



304 THE DECLINE AND FALL 



CHAPTER XXXVIII. 

KEIGN AND CONVERSION OF CLOVIS, HIS VICTORIES OVER 

THE ALEMANNI, BURGUNDIANS, AND VISIGOTHS. ESTAB- 
LISHMENT OF THE FRENCH MONARCHY IN GAUL. LAWS 

OF THE BARBARIANS. STATE OF THE ROMANS. THE 

VISIGOTHS OF SPAIN. CONQUEST OF BRITAIN BY THE 

SAXONS. 

The Ganls,^ who impatiently supported the Roman 
yoke, received a memorable lesson from one of the lieuten- 
ants of Vespasian, whose weighty sense had been refined 
and expressed by the g(^iius of Tacitus.-^ " The protection 
of the republic has delivered Gaul from internal discord and 
foreign invasions. By the loss of national independence, you 
have, acquired the name and privileges of Roman citizens. 
You enjoy, in common with ourselves, the permanent ben- 
efits of civil government ; and your remote situation is less 
exposed to the accidental mischiefs of tj^ranny. Instead of 
exercising the rights of conquest, we have been contented 
to impose such tributes as are requisite for your own pres- 
ervation. Peace cannot be secured wichout armies ; and 
armies must be supported at the expense of the people. It 
is for your sake, not for our own, that we guard the barrier 
of the Rhine against the ferocious Germans, who have so 
often attempted, and who will always desire, to exchange 
the solitude of their woods and morasses for the wealth and 
fertility of Gaul. The fall of Rome would be fatal to the 
provinces ; and you would be buried in the ruins of that 
mighty fabric, which has been raised by the valor and wis- 
dom of eight hundred years. Your imaginary freedom 
would be insulted and oppressed by a savage master ; and 

^ In this chapter I shall draw my quotations from the Recueil des HIstorions 
des (Jaules ct do la France, Paris, 1738-1767, in eleven volumes in folio. By the 
labor of Doni Bouquet, and the other Benedictines, all the original testimonies, 
as far as A. D. lOGO, are disposed in chronological order, and illustrated with 
learned notes. Such a national work, which will be continued to the year 1500, 
might i>rovoke our emulation. 

^ 'J'acit. Hist. iv. 7:5, 74, in torn. i. p. 445. To abridge Tacitus would indeed be 
presumptuous ; but I may select the general ideaa which he applies to the pre8« 
eut state and future revolutions of Gaul. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIEE. 305 

the expulsion of the Romans would be succeeded by tlie eter- 
nal liostilities of the Barbarian conquerors." ^ This salutary 
advice was ac<iepted, and this strange prediction was ac- 
complished. In the space of four hiindi-ed years, the hardy 
Oauls, who had encountered the arms of Caesar, were im- 
perceptibly melted into the general mass of citizens and 
subjects ; the Western em]>ire was dissolved ; and the Ger- 
mans, who had passed the Rhine, fiercely contended for the 
possession of Gaul, and excited the contempt, or abhor- 
rence, of its peaceful and polished inhabitants. With tliat 
conscious pride whicn the preeminence of knowledge and 
luxury seldom fails to inspire, they derided the hairy and 
gigantic savages of the North ; their rustic manners, disso- 
nant joy, voracious appetite, and their horrid appearance, 
equally disgusting to the sight and to the smell. The lib- 
eral studies were still cultivated in the schools of Autun 
and Bordeaux ; and the language of Cicero and Virgil was 
familiar to the Gallic youth. Their ears were astonished 
by the harsh and unknown sounds of the Germanic dialect, 
and they ingeniously lamented that the trembling muses 
fled from the harmony of a Burgundian lyre. The Gauls 
were endowed with all the advantages of art and nature; 
but as they wanted courage to defend them, they were 
justly condemned to obey, and even to flatter, the victo- 
rious Barbarians, by whose clemency they held their preca- 
rious fortunes and their lives.* 

As soon as Odoacer had extinguished the Western em- 
pire, he sought the friendship of the most powerful of the 
Barbarians. The new sovereign of Italy resigned to Euric, 
king of the Visigotlis, all the Roman conquests beyond the 
Alps, as far as the Rhine and the Ocean : ^ and the senate 
might confl-'m this liberal gift with some ostentation of 
power, and without any real loss of revenue or dominion. 
The lawful pretensions of Euric were justified by ambition 
and success ; and the Gothic nation might aspire, under his 
command, to the monarchy of Spain and Gaul. Aries and 
Marseilles surrendered to his arms ; he oj^pressed the free- 

3 Eadem aemper causa Germanis transceiidendi in Gallias libido atque avaritire 
et raulaudae sedis amor; ut relictis paludibus et soli tudiui bus sui.s, fecuiidissi- 
niuiu hoc solum vo.sque ipsos possidereiit. * * * Nam pulsis Romaiiis quid 
aliud quam bellaoiiiDium inter se gentium existent? 

* Sidoniiis Apollinaris ridicules, witli affected wit and pleasantry, the hard- 
ships of lii.s situation (Caiin. xii. in torn. i. p, 811). 

s See Procopiua de iiell. (Jothico, I. i. c. 12, in torn, ii. p, 31. The character of 
Grotius inclines me to believe that he has not substituted the Rhine for tho 
Jikone (Hist. Gotlioruin. p. 175) •without the autliority of some MS. 

Vol. III.— 20 



306 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

dom of Anvergne; and the bishop condescended to pnT- 
chase his recall from exile by a tribute of just, but reluctant 
praise. Sidonius waited before tlie gates of the palace 
among a crowd of ambassadors and suppliants; and their 
various business at the court of Bordeaux attested the power, 
and the renown, of the king of the Visigoths. The Heruli 
of the distant ocean, who painted thrir naked bodies with its 
ccerulean color, implored his protection, and the Saxons re- 
spected the maritime provinces of a prince, who was desti- 
tute of any naval force. The tall Burgundians submitted 
to his authority ; nor did he restore the captive Franks, till 
he had imposed on that fierce nation the terms of an une- 
qual peace. The Vandals of Africa cultivated his useful 
friendship ; and the Ostrogoths of Pannonia were supported 
by his powerful aid against the oppression of the neighbor- 
ing Huns. The North (such are the lofty strains of tlie 
poet) was agitated or appeased by the nod of Euric ; the 
great king of Persia consulted the oracle of the West ; and 
the aged god of the Tiber was protected by the swelling 
genius of the Garonne.^ The fortune of nations has often 
depended on accidents ; and France may ascribe her great- 
ness to the premature death of the Gothic king, at a time 
when his son Alaric was a helpless infant, and his adversary 
Clovis "^ an ambitious and valiant youth. 

While Childeric, the father of Clovis, lived an exile in 
Germany, he was hospitably entertained by the queen, as 
well as by the king, of the Thuringians. After his restora- 
tion, Bafina escaped from her husband's bed to the arms of 
her lover ; freely declaring, that if she had known a man 
wiser, stronger, or more beautiful, than Childeric, that man. 
should have been the object of her preference.^ Clovis was 
the offspring of this voluntary union ; and, when he was no 
more than fifteen years of age, he succeeded, by his father's 
death, to the command of the Salian tribe. The narrow 
limits of his kingdom ^ were confined to the island of the 

6 Sulonius, 1. viii. epist. 3, 9. in torn. i. p. 800. Jornandes (tie Rebus Geticis, c. 
47, p. G80) justifies, in some measure, this portrait of tlie Gothic hero. 

7 I use the familiar appellation of C'loris, from the Latin Chlodovechus, or 
CJ>lorIov(Bus. But the Ch expresses only the German aspiration ; and the true 
name isnotdiiferentfrom Ludubiy or Lewis (Mem. de I'Academie des Inscriptions 
tom. XX. p. 68). 

8 Grog. Turon. 1. ii. c. 12. in tom. i. p. 108. Bafina speaks the lan^iage of na- 
ture ; the Franks, who had seen her in their yotith, might converse with Grejrory 
in their old age ; and the bishop of Tours could not wish to defame the mother 
of tlie first Christian kiiig. 

9 The Abbe Dubos (Hist. Critique de I'EtaMissement de la Monarchie Fran- 
coi.se dans los Ganles, torn. i. pp. G.W-f).50) has the merit of delniing the priinilivo 
kinjidom of Clovis, aud of ascertaining the genuine number of his subjects. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 307 

Batavians, with the ancient dioceses of Tournay and Ar- 
ras ; ^^ and at the baptism of Clovis the number of liis war- 
riors could not exceed five thousand. The kindred tribes 
of the Franks, who had seated themselves along the Belgic 
rivers, the Scheld, the Meuse, the Moselle, and the Rhine, 
were governed by their independent kings, of the Merovin- 
gian race ; the equals, the allies, and sometimes ihe enemies, 
of the Salic prince. But the Germans, who obeyed, in 
peace, the hereditary jurisdiction of their chiefs, were free 
to follow the standard of a popular and victorious general ; 
and the superior merit of Clovis attracted the respect and 
allegiance of the national confederacy. When he first took 
the field, he had neither gold and silver in his coffers, nor 
wine and corn in his magazine ; ^^ but he imitated the ex- 
ample of Caesar, who, in the same country, had acquired 
wealth by the sword, and purchased soldiers with the fruits 
of conquest. After each successful battle or expedition, the 
spoils were accumulated in one common mass; every war- 
rior received his proportionable share; and the royal pre- 
rogative submitted to the equal regulations of military law. 
The untamed spirit of the Barbarians was taught to ac- 
knowledge the advantages of regular discipline. -^^ At the 
annual review of the month of March, their arms were dili- 
gently inspected, and when they traversed a peaceful terri- 
tory, they were prohibited from touching a blade of grass. 
The justice of Clovis was inexorable ; and his careless or 
disobedient soldiers were punished with instant death. It 
would be superfluous to praise the valor of a Frank ; but 
the valor of Clovis was directed by cool and consummate 
2:)rudence.-'^ In all his transactions with mankind, he cal- 
culated the weight of interest, of passion, and of opinion ; 
and his measures were sometimes adapted to the sanguinary 
manners of the Germans, and sometimes moderated by the 
milder genius of Rome, and Christianity. He was inter- 

^^ Ecclesiam incultamac negligently civium Paganorum praetermissam, vepri- 
um densitate oppletain, &c. Vit. St. Vedasti. in torn. iii. p. 372. This descrip- 
tion supposes that Arras was possessed by the Pagans many years before the bap- 
tism <jf Clovis. 

_ 1^ Gregory of Tours (1. v. c. i. torn. ii. p, 232) contrasts the poverty of Clovis 
■with the wealtli of liis grandsons. Yet Reniigius (in torn. iv. p. 52) mentions his 
pafn-nas opes, as sufficient for the redemption of captives. 

" See Gregory (1, ii. c. 27, 37, in torn. ii. pp. 175, 181, 182). The famous story of 
the vase of Soissons wxplains both the power and the character of Clovis. As a 
point of controversy, it has been strangely tortured by Boulainvilliers, Dubos, 
and the oth-r political antiquarians. 

J^ Th(! duke of Nivernois, a noble statesman, who has managed weighty and 
delicate negotiations, ingeniously illustrates (Mom. de I'Acad. des luscriptionSi 
Uni. XX. pp. 147-184) the political system of Clovis, 



308 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

ceptecl in the career of victory, since he died in the forty- 
fifth year of his age; but he had ah*eady accom))lI.shed, in a 
reign of thirty years, the establishment of the P^rench mon- 
archy in Gaul. 

The first exploit of Clovis was the defeat of Syagrius, 
the son of ^gidius ; and the public quarrel might, on this 
occasion, be inflamed by private resentment. The glory of 
the father still insulted the Merovingian race ; the power of 
the son might excite the jealous ambition of the king of 
the Franks. Syagrius inherited, as a patrimonial estate, 
the city and diocese of Soissons : the desolate remnant 
of the second Belgic, Rlieims and Troyes, Beauvais and 
Amiens, would naturally submit to the count or patrician ; ^^ 
and after the dissolution of the Western empire, he might 
reign with the title, or at least with the authority, of king 
of the Romans. ^^ As a Roman, he had been educated in 
the liberal studies of rhetoric and jurisprudence ; but he was 
engaged by accident and poli(-y in the familiar use of the 
Germanic idiom. The inde] endent Barbarians resorted to 
the tribunal of a stranger, who possessed the singulir talent 
of explaining, in their native tongue, the dictates of reason 
and equity. The diligence and affability of their judge 
rendered him popular, the impartial wisdom of his decrees 
obtained their voluntary obedience, and the reign of Sya- 
grius over tie Franks and Burgundians seemed to revive 
the original institution of civil society.^*^ In the midst* of 
these peaceful occupations, Syagrius received, and boldly 
accepted, the hostile defiance of Clovis ; who challenged his 
rival in the spirit, and almost in the lamruage, of chivalry, 
to appoint the day and the field ^ of battle. In the time of 
Caesar, Soissons would have poured forth a body of fifty 
thousand horse ; and such an army might have been plen- 
tifully suj^plied with shields, cuirasses, and military en- 

^* M. Biet (in a Dissertation ■wiiich deserved the prize of the Academy of Sois 
sons, pp. 178-22G) has accurately defined the nature and extent of the kinj^doni of 
Syagrius, and his father ; but he too readily allows the slight evidence ot Dubos 
(torn. ii. pp. 54-57) to deprive him of Beauvais and Amiens. 

ij I may observe that Fredegarius. in his epitome of Gregory of Tours (torn. 
ii. p. 3!)8) has prudently substituted tiie name of J'africins for the incredible title 
of Jiex liomannrum. 

^^ Sidonius (1. v. Epist. 5, in tom. i. p. 704), who styles him the Solon, the Am- 
phion, of the Barbarians, addresses this imaginary king in the tone of friendship 
and equality. From sucli offices of arbitration, the crafty Dejoces had raised 
luniself to the throne of the Medea (Herodot. 1. i. c. %-100). 

" Campum sibi pneparari jussit. M. Biet (np. 226-251) has diligently ascer- 
tained his Held of battle, at Nogent, a Benedictine abbey, about ten miles to the 
north of Soissons. The ground was marked by a circle of Pagan sepulchres; 
and Clovis bestowed the adjaceut landa of LeuUy and Coucy ou the church of 
liheims. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 809 

gines, from the three arsenals or manufactures of the oit3^** 
But the courage and numbers of the Gallic youth were long 
since exhausted ; and the loose bands of volunteers, or mer- 
cenaries, who marched under the standard of Syagrius, 
were incapable of contending with the national valor of the 
Franks. It would be ungenerous, without some more accu- 
rate knowledge of liis strength and resources, to condemn 
the rapid fliglit of Syagrius, wlio escaped, after the loss of a 
battle, to tlie distant court of Toulouse. The feeble mi- 
nority of Alaric could not assist or protect an unfortunate 
fugitive ; the ])usillanimous ^^ Goths were intimidated by 
the menaces of Clovis ; and the Roman king^ after a short 
confinement, was delivered into the hands of the execu- 
tioner. The Belgic cities surrendered to the king of the 
Franks ; and his dominions were enlarged towards the East 
by the ample diocese of Tongres ^^ which Clovis subdued in 
the tenth year of his reign. 

The name of the Alemanni has been absurdly derived 
from their imaginary settlement on the banks of the Leman 
Lake.'^^ That fortunate district, from the lake to Avenche, 
and Mount Jura, was occupied by the Burgundians.^^ The 
northern parts of Helvetia had indeed been subdued by 
the ferocious Alemanni, who destroyed with their own 
hands the fruits of their conquest. A province, improved 
and adorned by the arts of Home, was again reduced to a 
savage wilderness ; and some vestige of the stately Yindo- 
nissa may still be discovered in the fertile and populous 
vallev of the Aar.'^^ From the source of the Khine to its 

18 See Cfesar. Comment, de Bell, Gallic, ii. 4, in torn. i. p. 220, and the Notitise* 
torn. i. p. 12G. The three Fahricoi of Soissons were Scularla, JJ(ilist<iria, and 
(Jlinahnria. The last supplied the complete armor of the heavy cuirassiers. 

i'-* The epithet must )>e confined to circumstances ; and history cannot justify 
the French prejudice of Gregory (1. ii. c. 27, in torn. ii. i). 175) ut Gothorum pavere 
modest. 

2' Uuhos has satisfied me (torn. i. pp. 277-286) that Gregory of Tours, his tran- 
sr-ribeis, or his readers, have repeatedly confounded the German kiiigdom of Tlnc- 
rinf/ia, beyond the Ithine, and the Gallic ciij/ of Tonf/ria, on the Meuse, which 
was more anciently the country of the Eburonea, and more recently the diocese 
of Liege. 

21 Populi habitantes juxta Lemannum Jacum, Alemanni dicuntur, SeiTius, ad 
Virgil. Georgic. iv. 278. Bom Bouquet (torn. i. p. 817) has only alleged the more 
recent and corrupt text of Isidore of Sr'ville. 

22 Gregory of Tours sends St. Lupicinus inter ilia Jurensis deserti secretp, 
quae, inter Durgundiam Alamainiiamque sita, Aventicaj adjacent civitati, in 
torn. i. p. r>48. M. de Watteville (Hist, de la Confederation Helvetique torn. i. 
pp. 0, 10) has accurately defined the Helvetian limits of the Duchy of Alenian- 
iiia, and the Transjurane Burgundy. They were commensurate with the dioceses 
of Constance and Avenche, or Lausanne, and are all still dis(;riminated, in mod- 
em Switzerland, by the use of the German or French language. 

23 See Guilliman de Tiebus Ilelviticis, 1. i. c. :i, pp. 11, 12. Within the ancient 
walls of A^indonissa, the castle of Hapsburgh, the abbey of KonigsJield, and tl)0 
town of Biuck, have successively arisen. The philosophic tiavt;l!er may com- 
pare Liio monumenta of llomau conquest, of feudal or AuHtriau tyranny, of 



3l0 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

conflux With the Main and the Moselle, the formidable 
swarms of the Alemanni commanded either side of tlie 
river, by the right of ancient possession, or recent victory. 
They had spread themselves into Gaul, over tlie modern 
provinces of Alsace and Lorraine ; and their bold invasion 
of the kingdom of Cologne summoned the Salic ])rince to 
the defence of his Ripuarian allies. Clovis encountered the 
invaders of Gaul in the plain of Tolbiac, about twenty-four 
miles from Cologne; and the two fiercest nations of Ger- 
many were mutually animated by the memory of past ex- 
ploits, and the prospect of future greatness. The Franks, 
after an obstinate struggle, gave way; and the Alemanni, 
raising a shout of victory, impetuously pressed their retreat. 
But the battle, was restored by the valor, and the conduct, 
and perhaps by the piety, of Clovis ; and the event of the 
bloody day decided forever the alternative of empire or 
servitude. The last king of the Alemanni was slain in the 
field, and his people were slaughtered or pursued, till they 
threw down their arms, and yielded to the mercy of the 
conqueror. Without discipline it was impossible for them 
to rally : they had contemptuously demolished the walls 
and fortifications which might have protected their distress; 
and they were followed into the heart of their forests by an 
enemy not less active, or intrepid, than themselves. The 
great Theodoric congratulated the victory of Clovis, whose 
sister Albofleda the king of Italy had lately married ; but 
he mildly interceded with his brother in favor of the sup- 
])liants and fugitives, who had implored liis protection. 
The Gallic territories, which were possessed by the Ale- 
manni, became tlie })rize of their conqueror; and the 
haughty nation, invincible, or rebellious, to the arms of 
Rome, acknowledged tl\e sovereignty of the Merovingian 
kings, who graciously permitted them to enjoy tiieir pecu- 
liar manners and institutions, under the government of 
ofiicial, and, at length, of hereditary, dukes. After the 
conquest of the Western provinces, the Franks alone main- 
tained their ancient habitations beyond the Rhine. They 
gradually subdued, and civilized, the exhausted countries, 
as far as the Elbe, and the mountains of Bohemia ; and the 
peace of Europe was secured by the obedience of Germany.-* 

moii'kish superstition, and of indtistrious freedom. If he be truly a philosopher, 
he will applaud the merit and happiness of his own times. 

2« Gregory of Tours (1. ii. 30, 37. in tnm. ii. pp. 176, 177, 182). the Gesta Franco- 
rum (in tom. ii. p. 551). and the epistle of Theodoric (Cassiodor. Variar. 1, ii. c. 41, 
ill tom. iv. p. 4), represent the defeat of the Alemanni. Some of their tribes set- 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 311 

Till the thirtieth year of his age, Clovis continired to 
worship the gods of his aiicestors.'-^^ His disbelief, or rather 
disregard, of Christianity, might encourage him to i)illage 
with less remorse the churches of a hostile territory: but 
his subjects of Gaul enjoyed the free exercise of religious 
worship ; and the bishops entertained a more favorable hope 
of the idolater, than of the heretics. The Merovingian prince 
had contracted a fortunate alliance with the fair Clotilda, 
the niece of the king of Burgundy, Avho, in the midst of an 
Arian court, Avas educated in the profession of the Catholic 
faith. It was her interest, as well as her duty, to achieve 
the conversion ^^ of a Pagan husband ; and Clovis insensibly 
listened to the voice of love and religion. He consented 
(perhaps such terms had been previously stipulated) to the 
baptism of his eldest son ; and though the sudden death of 
the infant excited some superstitious fears, he was per- 
suaded, a second time, to repeat the dangerous experiment. 
In the distress of the battle of Tolbiac, Clovis loudly in- 
voked the God of Clotilda and the Christians ; and victory 
disposed him to hear, with resi>ectful gratitude, the elo- 
quent ^^ Remigius,'^^ bishop of Rheims, who forcibly dis- 
played the temporal and spiritual advantages of his con- 
version. The king declared himself satisfied of the truth 
of the Catholic faith; and the political reasons which might 
have suspended liis public profession, were removed by the 
devout or loyal acclamations of the Franks, who showed 
themselves alike prepared to follow their heroic leader to 

tied hi Rhfetia, under the protection of Theodoric ; whose successors ceded the 
colony and their country to the grandson ol; (Jlovis, The state of the Alenianni 
under the Merovingian kings may be seen in JNIascou (Hist, of the Ancient Ger- 
mans, xi. 8, &c). Annotation xxxvi. and Guilhuian (de Keb. llelvet. l.ii. c. 10-12, 
pp. 72-80). 

2J Clotilda, or rather Gregory, supposes that Clovis worshipped the gods of 
Greece and Rome. The fact is incredible, and the mistake only shows how com- 
pletely, in less than a century, the national religion of the Franks had beeu 
abolished, and even forgotten. 

2« Gregory of Tours relates the marriage and conversion of Clovis (1. ii. c. 82. 
31, in torn. ii. pp. 175-178). Even Fredegarius, or the nameless Epitomizer (in to7n- 
ii. p. 398-400) the author of the Gesta Francorum (in tom. ii, pp. 548-552), and 
Almoin himself (1. i. c. 1.3, in torn- iii. pp. .37-40), may be heard without disdain. 
Ti'aditio)! might long preserve some curious circumstances of these important 
tiansactions. 

2' A traveller, who returned from Rheims to Auvergne, had stolen a copy of 
his declamations from the secretary or bookseller of the modest archbishop (Si- 
donias Apollinar. 1. ix. epist. 7). Four epistles of Remigins, which are all still 
extant (in tom. iv. pp. 51, 52, 53), do not correspond with the splendid praise of 
Sidonius, 

2^ Hincmar, one of the successors of Remigius (A. D. 845-8^2), has composed 
his life (in tom. iii. pp. b7.3-.".80). The authority of ancient MSS. of the church 
of Rheims might insi)ire some confidence, wliich is destroyed, however, l)y the 
selfish and aud.-icious fictions of Hincmar. It is remarkable enough, that Remi- 
gins, who was consecrated at the age of twenty-two (A. J>. 457), filled the episco- 
pal chair seventy-four years (Pagi Critica, in Barou. tom. ii. pp. 384, 572). 



SVI THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

the field of battle, or to the baptismal font. The important 
ceremony was performed in the cathedral of Rheims, with 
every circumstance of magnificence and solemnity that 
could impress an awful sense of religion on the minds of 
its mde proselytes.^ The new Constantine was immedi- 
ately baptized, with three thousand of his warlike subjects ; 
and their example was imitated by the remainder of the 
gentle JBay-bariang^ who, in obedience to the victorious 
prelate, adored the cross which they had bumf, and burnt 
the idols which they had formerly adored.^*^ The mind of 
Clovis was susceptible of transient fervor : he was exasper- 
ated by the pathetic tale of the passion and deatli of 
Christ ; and, instead of weighing the sahitary consequences 
of that mysterious sacrifice, he exclaimed, with iiuliscreet 
fury, "Had I been present at the head of my valiant 
Franks, I would have revenged his in juries/'^ ^^ But the 
savage conqueror of Gaul was incapable of examining' the 
proofs of a religion, which depends on the laborious investi- 
gation of historic evidence and speculative theology. He 
was still more incapable of feeling the mild influence of the 
gospel, which persuades and purifies the heart of a genuine 
convert. His ambitious reign was a perpetual violation of 
moral and Christian duties: his hands were stained with 
blood in jjeace as well as in war ; and, as soon as Clovis had 
dismissed a synod of the Galilean church,, he calmly assassi- 
nated all the princes of the Merovingian race,*- Yet tlie 
king of the Franks might sincerely worship the Christian 
God, as a Being: more excellent and powerful than his na- 
tional deities; and the signal deliverance and victory of 
Tolbiac encouraged Clovis to confide in the future protec- 
tion of the Lord of Hosts, Martin, the most popular of the 
saints, had filled the Western world with the fame of those 
miracles which wei'e incessantly perfomied at his holy sejv 

^ A phial (the Salnte. AmponUe) of holyrOr rather celesticil, oil, was "brought 
down by a white «love for tlie baptism of Clovis ; and it is still used, and re- 
newed, in the coronatio-n of the kings of Fr;ince, liinemar (he aspired to the 
primacy of Gaul) is the first author of this table (in torn. Mi. p. 377), whose slight 
foundations the Abbe de Vertot (Menioires de 1' Academic des Inscriptions, toni. 
ii. p. ()1!i-G;33) has nndermined, witb profound respect and fonsnnnnate dexterity^ 

^* JVIitis depone colla, Sicamber : adora quod incendistir iucende quod ado- 
rasti. Greg. 'J uron,l. it. c. ol,. in torn. li. p. 177. 

•*' Si ego ibidem cum Francis meis fuissenviujurias ejus rindicassem. This- 
rash expression, which Gregory has ))nulently concealed, is celebrated by Frede- 
garius (Epitorn. c. 21, in tom, if. p. 400), Ainuiin (1. i. c. 16^, in torn. iii. p. 40), and 
the Chroniqnes de St. Denys (1. L c. 20^ iu tom, iii. p. Ill), as an admirable 
effusion of Christian zeal, 

^-' Gregory (1. ii. c. 40-43, m torn. ii. pp. I83-T85), after coolly relating the re- 
peated crimes and affected remorse of Clovis, concludes perhaps undesignedly, 
with a lessou, wliicli ambitlou will never liear. *'llis ila iruiibactis . . . , 
obiit." 



OF THE ROMAN" EMPIRE, 



313 



iilchre of Tours. Ills visible or invisible aid promoted the 
cause of a liberal and orthodox prince ; and the profane re- 
mark of Clovis himself, that St. Martin was an expensive 
friend,^^ need not be interpreted as the symptom of any 
permanent or rational skepticism. But earth, as well as 
heaven, rejoiced in the conversion of the Franks. On the 
memorable day when Clovis ascended from the baptismal 
font, he alone, In the Christian world, deserved the name 
and prerogatives of a Catholic king. The emperor Anasta- 
sius entertained some dangerous errors concerning the na- 
ture of the divine incarnation ; and the Barbarians of Italy, 
Africa, Spain, and Gaul, were involved in the Arian heresy. 
The eldest, or rather the only, son of the church, was ac- 
knowledged by the clergy as their lawful sovereign, or glo- 
rious deliverer ; and the armies of Clovis were strenuously 
supported by the zeal and feiwor of the Catholic f action. ^^ 

Under the Koman empire, the wealth and jurisdiction of 
the bishops, their sacred character, and perpetual office, their 
numerous dependents, popular eloquence, and provincial as- 
semblies, had rendered them always respectable, and some- 
times dangerous. Their influence was augmented with the 
progress of superstition; and the establishment of the 
French monarchy may, in some degree, be ascribed to the 
firm alliance of a hundred prelates, who reigned in the dis- 
contented, or independent, cities of Gaul. The slight founda- 
tions of the ArTTiorican republic had been repeatedly shaken, 
or overthrown; but the same people still guarded their do- 
mestic freedom ; asserted the dignity of the Boman name ; 
and bravely resisted the predatory inroads, and regular at- 
tacks, of Clovis, who labored to extend his conquests from 
the Seine to the Loire. Their successful opposition intro- 
duced an equal and honorable union. The Franks esteemed 
the valor of the Armoricans ;^^ and the Armoricans were rcc- 

33 After the Gothic yfctory, Clovis made rich offerings to St. Martin of Tours. 
He wished to redeem liis war-horse by tlie gift of one hundred pieces of gold, 
but the enchanted steed could not reiiiove from the stable till tlie iirice of hi.-* 
redemption had been doubled. This inUacle j)rovoked the king to exclaim, Vere 
B. Martinua est bonus in auxilio, sed carus in negoiio. (Gesta Francorum, in 
tom, ii. pp. 554, 555.) 

'^ See the epistle from Pope Anastasius to the royal convert (in torn. iv. pp. 
60,51). Avitus, bishop of Vienna, addressed Clovis on the same sul>ject (p. 49) ; 
and many of the Latin bishops would assure him of their joy and attachment. 

^^ Instead of the 'ApBipv^oi, an unknown peoi)le, wlio now appear in tlie text 
of Procopius, Hadrian de Valois lias restored the proper name of the'Ap/jiopui^ot , 
and this easy correction has been almost nnivensally approved. Vet an iinpre- 
judicefl reader would naturally suppose that Procopius means to describe a tribe 
of Germans in tlu" alliance of I^ome ; and not a confederacy of Gallic cities, 
which had revolted from the empire.* 



» Compare Hallam's Europe during the Middle Ages, vol. i. p. 2, and Daru* 
Hist, de Bretagne, vol. i. p. 129.— M. 



314 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

onciled by the religion of the Franks. The military force 
which had been stationed for the defence of Gaul, consisted 
of one hundred different bands of cavalry or infantry ; and 
these troops, while they assumed the title and privileges of 
Roman soldiers, were renewed by an incessant supply of 
the Barbarian youth. The extreme fortifications, and scat- 
tered fragments of the empire, were still defended by their 
hopeless courage. But their retreat was intercepted, and 
their communication was impracticable: they were aban- 
doned by the Greek princes of Constantinople, and they 
piously disclaimed all connection with the Arian usurpers 
of Gaul. They accepted, without shame or reluctance, the 
generous capitulation, w^hich was proposed by a Catholic 
hero ; and this spurious, or legitimate, progeny of the 
Roman legions, was distinguished in the succeeding age by 
their arms, their ensigns, and their peculiar dress and insti- 
tutions. But the national strength was increased by these 
powerful and voluntary accessions ; and the neighboring 
kingdoms dreaded the numbers, as well as the spirit, of the 
Franks. The reduction of the Northern provinces of Gaul, 
instead of being decided by the chance of a single battle, 
appears to have been slowly effected by the gradual opera- 
tion of war and treaty ; and Clovis acquired each object of 
his ambition, by such efforts, or such concessions, as Avere 
adequate to its real value. His savage character, and the 
virtues of Henry IV., suggest the most opposite ideas of 
human nature; yet some resemblance may be found in the 
situation of two princes, who conquered France by their 
valor, their policy, and the merits of a seasonable conver- 
sion.^^ 

The kingdom of the Burgundians, wliich was defined by 
the course of two Gallic rivers, the Saone and the Rhone, 
extended from the forest of Vosges to the Al])8 and the sea 
of Marseilles.^'^ The sceptre was in the hands of Gundobald. 
That valiant and ambitious prince had reduced the number 

s« This importmit diprf^psvon of Prooopius (deBell. Oothic. 1. i. o. 12, in tom.ii. 
pp. 29-.'!G) illuHtrates tlie ori.uiii of the French niojiiiicliy. Yet I must observe, 1. 
'J'hat tlic Greek historian l>etrays an inexcusablo ij^noraiice of the geography of 
the West. 2- That these treaties and privileges, which shonUt leave some lasting 
traces, arc totally invisible to Gregory of Tours, the Salic laws, &c. 

•''■ Kegnum cina Khodanuni aut Ararim rum provincia Mas.siliensi retinehant. 
Greg. Turt n. 1. ii. c. 32, in tom. ii. p. 178. The province of !\Tarseilles. as far as 
the Durance, was afterwards ceded to the Ostrogoths ; and the signatures of 
twenty-five hi si 1 ops are supposed to represent the kingdom of Burgundv, A D. 
510. (Poncil. Kpaon. in tom. iv. pn. 104. 105.') Yet I would except Vindon- 
issn. 'J'he hisliop. who lived under the T'agan Alemannl, w(nild naturally resort 
to the svnods of the next Christinn Kingdom. Mascou (in his four first annota- 
tious) liUB explained many circumstances relative to the Burgundian nionarcby. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIEE. 315 

of royal candidates by the death of two brothers, one of 
whom was the father of Clotilda ;^^ but his imperfect pru- 
dence still permitted Godeo^esil, the youngest of his brothers, 
to possess the dependent principality of Geneva. The Arian 
monarch was justly alarmed by the satisfaction, and the 
hopes, which seemed to animate his clergy and people after 
the conversion of Clovis; and Gundobald convened at 
Lyons an assembly of liis bishops, to reconcile, if it were 
possible, their religious and political discontents. A vain 
conference was agitated between the two factions. The 
Arians upbraided the Catholics with the worship of three 
Gods : the Catholics defended their cause by theological 
distinctions ; and the usual arguments, objections, and replies 
were reverberated with obstinate clamor ; till the king re- 
vealed his secret apprehensions, by an abrupt but decisive 
question, which he addressed to the orthodox bishops. " If 
you truly profess the Christian religion, why do you not re- 
strain the king of the Franks ? He has declared war against 
me, and forms alliances with my enemies for my destruc- 
tion. A sanguinary and covetous mind is not the symptom 
of a sincere conversion : let him show his faith by his 
works." The answer of Avitus, bishop of Vienne, who 
spoke in the name of his brethren, was delivered with the 
voice and countenance of an angel. " We are ignorant of the 
motives and intentions of the king of tiie Franks : but we 
are taught by Scripture, that the kingdoms which abandon 
the divine law are frequently subverted ; and that ene- 
mies will arise on every side against those who have made 
God their enemy. Return with thy j^/cople, to the law of 
God, and he wall give peace and security to thy dominions." 
The king of Burgundy, who was not prepared to accept the 
condition which the Catholics considered as essential to the 
treaty, delayed and dismissed the ecclesiastical conference; 
after reproaching liis bishops, that Clovis, their friend and 
proselyte, had privately tempted the allegiance of his 
brother.^ 

The allegiance of his brother was already seduced ; and 
the obedience of Godegesil, who joined the royal standard 

38 Mascou (Hist, of the Germans, xi. 10) who very reaponably distrusts tlie tes- 
timony of Gregory of Tours, lias produced a passajje froui Avitus (epist. v.) to 
prove that Gundobald affected to deplore the tragic event, which his subjects 
affected to applaud. 

3" See the original conference (in tom. iv. pp. 99-102). Avitus, the principal 
actor, and probably the secretary of the nicding. was bishop of Vienna. A short 
account of his person aiKl works may be found in l>upin (Jiiblioth^que Ecclesi- 
astique, tom. v. pp. 5-10). 



816 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

with the troops of Geneva, more effeetually promoted the 
suceess of the cons])inicy. While the Franks and Burii:un- 
dians contended with equal valor, his seasonable desertion 
decided the event of the battle ; and as Gundobald was 
faintly supported by the disaffected Gauls, he yielded to the 
arms of Clovis, and hastily retreated from the field, which 
appears to have been situate between Langi'es and Lijon. 
He distrusted the strength of Dijon, a quadrangular fortress, 
encompassed by two rivers, and by a wall thirty feet liigli, 
and fifteen thick, with four gates, and thirty-three towers ;^^ 
he abandoned to the pursuit of Clovis the important cities 
of Lyons and Yienne ; and Gundobald still fled with precip- 
itation, till he had reached Avignon, at the distance of two 
hundred and fifty miles from the field of battle. A long 
siege and an artful negotiation, admonished the king of the 
Franks of the danger and difiiculty of his enterprise. He 
imposed a tribute on the Burgundian prince, compelled him 
to pardon and reward his brother's treachery, and proudly 
returned to his own dominions, with the spoils and captives of 
the southern provinces. This splendid triumph was soon 
clouded by the intelligence, that Gundobald had violated his 
recent obligations, and that the unfortunate Godegesil, who 
was left at Vienne with a garrison of five thousand Franks,^^ 
had been besieged, surprised, and massacred by his inhuman 
brother. Sucli an outrage might have exasperated the pa- 
tience of the most peaceful sovereign ; yet the conqueror of 
Gaul dissembled the injury, released the tribute, and ac- 
ce2:)ted the alliance, and military service, of the king of Bur- 
gundy. Clovis no longer possessed those advantages which 
had assured the success of the preceding war ; and his rival, 
instructed by adversity, had found new resources in the af- 
fections of his people. The Gauls or llomans applauded 
the mild and impartial laws of Gundobald, whicli almost 
raised them to the same level Avith their conquerers. The 
bishops were reconciled, and flattered, by the hopes, whicli 
lie artfully suggested, of his a])])roaching conversion ; and 
though he eluded their acconi2)lishment to the last moment 

^^ Gregory of Tours (I. iii. c. Ifl, in torn. ii. p, 197) indulges his penirs, or rather 
transcribes some more eloquent writer, in the deserii)li()n of Dijoii ; a <at;tle, 
Avliif'h already deserved the title of a city. It depended on the bishops of Lin res 
till the twelfth century, and afterwards'beoarae the capital of the dukes of Bur- 
gundy. I>onguerue, Description de la Franco, part i, p. 2S0. 

•»' The Epitoniizcr of Gregory of Tours (in torn. ii. p. 401) has supplied lliis 
number of Franks ; but he rashly 6up[)os(;s that they were cut in pieces by (Juii- 
dobald. The prudent J^urgundian spared ibo sohliers of Clovis, ami sent these 
captives to tlie king of the \isigoths, who soLlled them in the territory of Tou- 
louse. 



OF THE EOMAN EMPIRE. 317 

of liis life, liis moderation secured the peace, and suspended 
the ruin, of tlie kingdom of Burgundy. -^ 

I am impatient to pursue the final ruin of that kingdom, 
which was accomplished under the reign of Sigismond, the 
son of Gundobald. The Catholic Sigismond has acquired 
the honors of a saint and martyr ; ^^ but the hands of the 
royal saint were stained with the blood of his innocent son, 
whom he inhumanly sacrificed to the pride and resentment 
of a step-mother. He soon discovered his error, and be- 
wailed the irreparable loss. While Sigismond embraced the 
corpse of the unfortunate youth, he received a severe ad- 
monition from one of his attendants : " It is not his situation, 
O king! it is thine which deserves pity and lamentation." 
The reproaches of a guilty conscience were alleviated, how- 
ever, by his liberal donations to the monastery of Agaunum, 
or St. Maurice, in Vallais ; which he himself had founded 
in lienor of the imaginary martyrs of the Theba^an legion.^* 
A full chorus of per])etual psalmody was instituted by the 
pious king ; he assiduously practised the austere devotion 
of tlie monks ; and it was his humble prayer, that Pleaven 
would inflict in this world the punishment of his sins. His 
prayer was heard : the avengers were at hand : and the 
provinces of Burgundy were overwhelmed by an army of 
victorious Franks. After the event of an unsuccessful 
battle, Sigismond, who wished to protract his life that he 
might prolong his penance, concealed himself in the desert in 
a religious habit, till he was discovered and betrayed by his 
subjects, who solicited the favor of their new masters. The 
ca[)tive monarch, with his wife and two children, was trans- 
ported to Orleans, and buried alive in a deep well, by the 
stern command of tlie sons of Clovis : whose ciujlty might 
derive some excuse from the maxims and examples of their 
barbarous age. Their ambition, which urged them to achieve 
the conquest of Burgundy, was inflamed, or disguised, by 

*'^ In this Burgundian war I liave followed Gregory of Tours (1. ii, c. 32, 33, 
in toni. ii. p)i, 178, 17'.;), whose iiarative appears so inc(<ini>atil)le with tliat of Pro- 
copius (de Bell. Goth. 1. i. c. ]'2, in torn, ii. pp. 31, 32) that some critics have sup- 
posed (wo different wars. The Abbd Dubo.s (Hist. Critique, &c,, torn li. pp. 126- 
1G2) has distinctly represented the causes and the events. 

" See his life or legend (in toiii. iii. p. 402). A niartvr ! how strangelv has that 
word been distorted from its original sense of a common witness. St. Sigismond 
was remarkable for the cure of fevers. 

« Before the end of the fifth centun', the church of St. Maurice, and his The- 
bam legion, had rendered Ag.^unnm a place of devout pilgrimage. A promiscu- 
ous community of both sexes had introduced some deeds of darkness, whi'^li 
were abolished (A. P. ,^,15) by the regular moiiastery of Sigismond. Witliin f'fty 
ycjars his az/.^/r/an/" /;///'(! made a nocturnal sally to murder their bishop and hia 
clergy. See in the BiMiothfeque Raison6e (torn, xxxvi. pp. 435-438) the curious re- 
marks of a learned librarian of Geneva. 



318 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

filial piety : and Clotilda, whoso sanctity did not consist in 
the forgiveness of injuries, pressed them to revenge her 
father's death on the family of his assassin. The rebellious 
Burgundians (for they attempted to break their chains)^ 
were still j^ermitted to enjoy their national laws under the 
obligation of tribute and military service ; and the JMcro- 
vingian princes peaceably reigned over a kingdom, whose 
glory and greatness had been first overthrown by the arms 
of Clovis.^^ 

The first victory of Clovis had insulted the honor of the 
Goths. They viewed his rapid progress with jealousy and 
terror ; and the youthful fame of Alaric was oppressed by 
the more potent genius of his rival. Some disputes inevita- 
bly arose on the edge of their contiguous dominions ; and 
after the delaysof fruitless negotiation, a personal interview 
of the two kings was proposed and accepted. This confer- 
ence of Clovis and Alaric was held in a small island of the 
Loire, near Amboise. They embraced, familiarly conversed, 
and feasted together; and separated with tlie waimest 
professions of peace and brotherly love. But their ap- 
parent confidence concealed a dark suspicion of hostile and 
treacherous designs; and their mutual complaints solicited, 
eluded, and disclaimed, a final arbitration. At Paris, which 
he already considered as his royal seat, Clovis declared to 
an assembly of the princes and warriors, the pretence, and 
the motive, of a Gothic war. " It grieves me to see that the 
Arians still possess the fairest portion of Gaul. Let us 
march against them with the aid of God ; and, liaving van- 
quished the heretics, we will possess and divide their fertile 
provinces."^® The Franks, who were inspired by lieredi- 
tary valor and recent zeal, a])planded the generons design 
of their monarch ; expressed their resolution to conquer or 
die, since death and conquest would b^e equally ]irofitable ; 
and solemnly protested that they would never shave their 
beards till victory should absolve them from tliat incon- 
venient vow. The enterprise was promoted by the ]niblic 
or private exhortations of Clotilda. She reminded her 

♦s IVTaHus, bishop of Avenche (Chron. in torn. ii. r- lf>'*' ^^^^ mnrkod the au- 
thentic dates, and Clrepory of Tours (1. lii. c. 5. 6, in torn. ii. pp. If-H. IMt) h:is t x- 
pressed the inincipal facts, of the life of Sicisniond, and the conquest of lUir- 
gundy. rrocopiuH (in toin. ii. p. ;M) and Agathins (in torn. ii. p. 49) bhow their 
remote and imperfect knowled^'o. 

«« Gregory of Tours (1. li. e. 37. p. ISI") inserts tlie Phort l>ut persuasive speech 
of ('lovis Valde iiioloste fero, quod lii Ariani partem teiieant Calliarum (Ihe 
author of the (icsta Francoruin, m tom. li. p. Sf)."?, ad.ds the precious epithet of 
optiman), eamus cum Dui adjutorio, et, superatis cis, redigamus terram in dilio- 
jxQm nostraiu> 



OF THE KOMAX EMPIRE. 319 

husband how effectually some pious foundation would pro- 
pitiate the Deity, and his servants ; and the Christian hero, 
darting his battle-axe with a skilful and nervous liand, 
*' There (said he), on that spot where my Francisca ^"^ shall 
fall, will I erect a church in honor of the holy apostles." 
This ostentatious piety confirmed and justified the attach- 
ment of the Catholics, with whom he secretly corresponded ; 
and their devout wishes were gradually ripened into a for- 
midable conspiracy. The people of Aquitain was alarmed 
by the indiscreet reproaches of their Gothic tyrants, who 
justly accused them of preferring the dominion of the Franks : 
and their zealous adherent Quintianus, bishop of Rodez,^^ 
preached more forcibly in his exile than in his diocese. To 
resist these foreign and domestic enemies, who were fortified 
by the alliance of the Burgundians, Alaric collected his 
troops, far more numerous than the military powers of 
Clovis. The Visigoths resumed the exercise of arms, which 
they had neglected in a long and luxurious peace ; ^^ a select 
band of valiant and robust slaves attended their maste^-. to 
the field \^^ and the cities of Gaul were compelled to furni: li 
their doubtful and reluctant aid. Theodoric, king of the 
Ostrogoths, who reigned in Italy, had labored to maintain 
the tranquillity of Gaul ; and he assumed, or affected, for 
that purpose, the impartial character of a mediator. But 
the sagacious monarch dreaded the rising empire of Clovis, 
and he was firmly engaged to support the national and re- 
ligious cause of the Goths. 

The accidental, or artificial, prodigies which adorned the 
expedition of Clovis, were accepted by a superstitious age, 
as the manifest declaration of the divine favor. He marched 
from Paris ; and as he proceeded with decent reverence 
through the holy diocese of Tours, his anxiety tempted him 
to consult the shrineof St. Martin, the sanctuarv and the 

*'' Tunc rex projeoit a se in directum Bipennem Buam quoil est Francisca, &c. 
(Gesta Franc, in toin. ii. p. 554.) The form and use of this weapon are clearly de- 
Bcribed by Procopius (in tom. ii. p. 07). Examples of its national appr^llation in 
Latin and French may be found in the Glossary of Ducange, and the large Dic- 
tionnaire <le Trevoux. 

43 It is siu'^ular enough that some important and authentic facts should be 
found iu a life of Quintianus, composed in rhyme in the old Patois of Kouergue 
(Dubos, Hist- Critique, &c., tom. ii. p. \T.)). 

*3 Qiiamvis fortitudini vestraj confidentiam tribuat parentum vestrorum inu- 
inerabilis multitudo ; quamvis Attilam potontem rcminiscamini Visigotliarum 
\iribus inclinatum ; tamen quia populorum ferocia corda longa pace mollescunt, 
cavete subito in aleam mittere, quos constat taniis temporibus exercltia non 
habere. Such was the salutary, but fruitless, advice of peace, of reason, and of 
Theodoric (Cassiodor. 1. iii. ep. 2). 

^* Montesquieu (Esprit dcs Loix, 1. xv. c. 14) mentions and approves the law of 
the Visigoths (1. ix. tit. 2, in torn. iv. p. 425), which obliged all masters to arm, ancl 
Bend, or lead, into the field, a tenth of their slaves. 



320 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

oracle of Gaul. His messengers were instructed to remark 
the words of the Psalm which should happen to be chanted 
at the j3recise moment when they entered the church. Those 
words most fortunately expressed the valor and victory of 
the chanijnons of Heaven, and the application was easily 
transferred to the new Joshua, the new Gideon, who went 
forth to battle against the enemies of the Lord.^^ Orleans 
secured to the Franks a bridge on the Loire ; but, at the 
distance of forty miles from Poitiers, their j^rogress was in- 
tercepted by an extraordinary swell of the River Vigenna 
or Vienne ; and the opposite banks were covered by the 
encampment of the Visigoths. Delay must be always 
dangerous to Barbarians, who consume the country through 
which they march ; and had Clovis possessed leisure and 
materials, it might have been impracticable to construct a 
bridge, or to force a passage, in the face of a superior 
enemy. But the affectionate peasants, who were impatient 
to welcome their deliverer, could easily betray some un- 
known or unguarded ford : the merit of the discovery was 
enhanced by the useful interposition of fraud or fiction ; 
and a white hart, of singular size and beauty, appeared to 
guide and animate the march of the Catholic army. The 
counsels of the Visigoths were irresolute and distracted. 
A crowd of impatient w^arriors, presumptuous in their 
strength, and disdaining to fly before the robbers of Ger- 
many, excited Alaric to assert in arms the name and blood 
of the conqueror of Rome. The advice of the graver chief- 
tains pressed him to elude the first ardor of the Franks ; 
and to expect, in the southern provinces of Gaul, the veteran 
and victorious Ostrogoths, whom the king of Italy had 
already sent to his assistance. The decisive moments 
were wasted in idle deliberation ; the Goths too hastily 
abandoned, perhaps, an advantageous post; and the oppor- 
tunity of a secure retreat was lost by their slow and disor- 
derly motions. After Clovis had passed the ford, as it is 
still named, of the Hart^ he advanced with bold and hasty 
steps to prevent tlie escape of the enemy. His nocturnal 
march was directed ])y a flaming meteor, suspended in the 

^1 This rnodo of (divination, by accepting as an omen the first sacred words, 
which in particular circunistances should be presented to llie eye or ear, was de- 
rived from the }'U' ans ; and the Psalter, or Bible, was substituted to the poems 
of Homer and Virgil. From the fourth to the fourteeuih century these series 
gancforum, as they are styled, were repeatedly condemned by the decrees of coun- 
cils, and repeatedly practised by kings, bishops and s;unt«. See a curious disser- 
tation of the Abl>6 du Hesuel, iii the Memoires de rAcademie, torn. xix. pp. 287- 
310, 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 821 

air above the cathedral of Poitiers ; and this signal, wliich 
mio'ht be previously concerted with the orthodox successor 
of St. Plihiry, was compared to the column of lire that guided 
the Israelites in the desert. At the third hour of the day, 
about ten miles beyond Poitiers, Clovis overtook, and in- 
stantly attacked, the Gothic army ; whose defeat was already 
prepared by terror and confusion. Yet they rallied in tlieir 
extreme distress, and the martial youths, who had clamor- 
ously demanded the battle, refused to survive the ignominy 
of flight. The two kings encountered each other in single 
combat. Alaric fell by the hand of his rival; and the vic- 
torious Frank was saved by the goodness of his cuirass, and 
the vigor of his horse, from the s]:>eai-s of two desperate 
Goths, who furiously rode against him to revenge the death 
of their sovei'eign. The vague expression of a mountain of 
the slain, serves to indicate a cruel though indefinite slaugh- 
ter ; but Gregory has carefully observed, that his valiant 
countryman ApoUinaris, the son of Sidonius, lost his life at 
the head of the nobles of Auvergne. Perhaps these sus- 
pected Catholics had been maliciously exposed to the blind 
assault of the enemy ; and perhaps the influence of religion 
was superseded by personal attachment or military honor.^^ 
Such is the empire of Fortune (if we may still disguise 
our ignorance under that popular name), that it is almost 
equally difficult to foresee the events of war, or to explain 
their various consequences. A bloody and complete victory 
has sometimes yielded no more than the possession of the 
field ; and the loss of ten thousand men has sometimes been 
sufficient to destroy, in a single day, the work of ages. The 
decisive battle of Poitiers was followed by the conquest of 
Aquitain. Alaric had left behmd him an infant son, a bas- 
tard competitor, factious nobles, and a disloyal people ; and 
the remaining forces of the Goths were oppressed by the 
general consternation, or opposed to each other in civil dis- 
cord. The victorious king of the Franks proceeded without 
delay to the siege of Angouleme. At the sound of his trum- 
pets the walls of the city imitated the example of Jericho, 
and instantly fell to the ground ; a splendid miracle, which 
may be reduced to the supposition, that some clerical engi- 

••- After correcting the text, or excusing the mistake, of Procopius, who places 
the defeat of Alavir, near Carcrassone, we may conclude, from the evidence of 
Gregoi'v, Fortimatus, and the anthor of the Gesta Francorum, that the hattle 
was foujjht in cnmpo Voc'affenai, on the hanks of the Clain, about ten miles to 
the sonth of Poitiers. Clovis overtook and attacked the Visigotlis near Vivonne, 
and the victory was decided near a village still named Champagne St. Hilaire. 
See the Dissertations of the Ahbe le Bceuf, torn. i. pp. 304-331. 

Vol. III.— 21 



322 THE DECLINE AND EALL 

neers had secretly nndermiiied the foundations of the 
rarapart.^^ At Bordeaux, Avliich Jiad submitted without re- 
sistance, Clovis establislied his winter quarters ; and his 
prudent economy transported from Toulouse the royal 
treasures, which were deposited in the capital of the mon- 
archy. The conqueror penetrated as far as the confines of 
Spain ; ^^ restored the honors of the Catholic church ; fixed 
in Aquitain a colony of Franks ; ^^ and delegated to his lieu- 
tenants the easy task of subduing, or extirpating, the nation 
of the Visigoths. But the Visigoths were ])rotected by the 
wise and powerful monarchy of Italy. While the balance 
was still equal, Theodoric had perhaps delayed the march 
of the Ostrogoths ; but tlieir strenuous efforts successfully 
resisted the ambition of Clovis ; and the army of the Franks, 
and their Burgundian allies, was compelled to raise the 
siege of Aries, with the loss, as it is said, of thn*ty thousand 
men. These vicissitudes inchned the fierce spu'it of Clovis 
to acquiesce in an advantageous treaty of peace. The Visi- 
goths were suffered to retain the possession of Septimania, 
a narrow tract of sea-coast, from the Rhone to the Pvren- 
ees ; but the ample province of Aquitain, from these moun- 
tains to the Loire, was indissolubly united to the kingdom 
of France.^ 

After the success of the Gothic war, Clovis accepted the 
honors of the Roman consulship. The emperor Anastasius 
ambitiously bestowed on the most powerful rival of Theod- 
oric the title and ensigns of that eminent dignity ; yet, 
from some unknown cause, the name of Clovis has not been 

63 Aiigoul^me is in the road from' Poitiers to Bordeaux ; and although Greg- 
ory delays the siege, I can more readily believe that he confounded the order of 
history, than that Clovis neglected the rules of war. 

»* Pyrenajos monies us jue Perpinianum subjeoit, is the expression of Rorioo, 
which beti-ays his recent date ; since Perpignan did not exist before the tenth 
century (Maica Hispanica, p. iSS). This Hurid and fabulous writer (perhaps a 
monk of Auiiens— see the Abbe le Bwuf, Mem. deTAcademic, toni. xvii. pp. 228- 
245) relates, in the allegorical character of a shepherd, the general histoiy of his 
countrymen th':* Franks ; but liis narrative ends with the death of Clovis. 

^ The aithor of the Gesta Francoruni positively aflirms, that Clovis fixed a 
body of Franks in the Saintongeand Dourdelois : and he is not injudiciously fol- 
lowed by llorico, electos milites, atque fortissimos, cum parvulis, atque mulieri- 
bus. Yet it should seem that they soon mingled tvith the Komans of Aquitain, 
till Charlemagne introduced a more numerous and powerful colony (Dubos, Hist. 
Critique, torn, ii. p. 215). 

•'>o In the composition of the Gothic war, I have used the following materials, 
with due regard to their unequal value. ITour epistles from Theodoric, king or 
Italy (Cassiodor. 1. iii. epist. 1-4, in torn. iv. pp. o-5) ; Procopius (de Bell. Goth. 
1. i. c. 12, in tom. ii. pp. .^>2, ?>") ; Gregory of Tours (1. ii. c. ,"^5, .'36, 37, in tom. ii. 
pp. ISl-lS.'?') ; Jornandes (de Ueb. Getlcis, c. 6.S, in tom. ii. p. 28") ; Fortunatus (in 
Vit. St. Hilarii, in tom. iii. p. :\>^(^) ; Isadore (in ("hron. Goth, in tom. ii. p. 702) ; the 
Epitomy of Gregory of Tours (in torn. ii. p. 401") ; the author of the Gesta Fran- 
corum (in tom. ii. pp. 5.');5-.555) ; the Fragments of Fredegarius (in tom. ii. p. 
463) ; Almoin (1. i. c. 20, in tom. iii. pp. 41, 42) ; and liorico (1. iv. in tom. iii. pp. 
14-19). 



OF THE KOMAX EMPIR 323 

inscribed in the Fasti either of the East or West.^^ On the 
solemn day, the monarch of Gaul, placing a diadem on his 
head, was invested, in the church of St. Martin, with a pur- 
ple tunic and mantle. From thence he proceeded on horse- 
back to the cathedral of Tours ; and, as he passed through 
the streets, profusely scattered, with his own hand, a dona- 
tive of gold and silver to the joyful multitude, who inces- 
santly repeated their acclamations of Consul and Augustus, 
Tlie actual or legal authority of Clovis could not receive any 
new accessions from the consular dignity. It was a name, 
a shadow, an empty pageant ; and if the conqueror had been 
instructed to claim the ancient prerogatives of that high 
office, they must have expired with the period of its annual 
duration. But the Romans were disposed to revere, m the 
person of their master, that antique title which the emperors 
condescended to assume ; the Barbarian himself seemed to 
contract a sacred obligation to respect the majesty of the 
republic ; and the successors of Theodosius, by soliciting his 
friendship, tacitly forgave, and almost ratified, the usurpa- 
tion of Gaul. 

Twenty-five years after the death of Clovis this impor- 
tant concession was more formally declared, in a treaty be- 
tween his sons and the emperor Justinian. The Ostrogoths 
of Italy, unable to defend their distant acquisitions, had re- 
signed to the Franks the cities of Aries and Marseilles ; of 
Aries, still adorned with the seat of a Praetorian praefect, 
and of Marseilles, enriched by the advantages of trade and 
navigation.^® This transaction was confirmed by the Impe- 
rial authority; and Justinian, generously yielding to the 
Franks the sovereignty of the countries beyond the Alps, 
which they already possessed, absolved the provincials from 
their allegiance ; and established on a more lawful, though 
not more solid foundation, the throne of the Merovingians.^ 



59 



Ji^ The Fasti of Ital^ would naturally reject a consul, the enemy of their sov* 
ereign ; but any ingenious hypothesis that might explain tlie silence of Constan- 
tinople and Egypt (the Clironicle of Marcellinus, and the Paschal), is overturned 
by the similar silence of Marius, bishop of Avencbe, who composed his Fasti in 
the kingdom of Burgundy. If the evidence of Gregory of Tours were less 
weighty and positive (1. ii. c. 38, in torn. ii. p. 183), I could believe that Clovis, 
like Odoacer, received the lasting title and honors of Patrician (Pagi Critica, 
tom. ii. pp. 474, 482). 

^^ Under the Merovingian kiiics, Marseilles still imported from the East paper, 
wine, oil, linen, silk, precious .stones, spices, &c. The GauN, or Franks, traded 
to Syria, and the Syrians were established in Gaul. See M. de Guigues, Mem. 
de I'Academie, xxxvii. pp. 47J-475. 

''^ Oil yap noTe wovto FaAAia? ^vv toJ aTxliakel KfKTri<T9ai •t'pdvyoi, /irj tou avroKpri' 

Topo5 TO 'ipyov eTTifffSayt'crai'To? ToOro ye. This strong declaration of Procopius (de 
Bell. Gothic. L iii. cap. 33, in tom. ii. p. 41) would almost sultice to justi/v tho 
Abb^ Dubos. 



324 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

From that era they enjoyed the right of celebrating at Aries 
the games of the circus ; and by a singular privilege, which 
was denied even to the Persian monarch, the gold com, im- 
pressed with their name and image, obtained a legal cur- 
rency in the empire/^' A Greek historian of that age has 
praised the private and public virtues of the Franks, with a 
partial enthusiasm, which cannot be sufficiently justified by 
their domestic annals.*^^ He celebrates their politeness and 
urbanity, their regular government, and orthodox religion ; 
and boldly asserts, that these Barbarians could be distin- 
guished only by their dress and language from the subjects 
of Rome. Perhaps the Franks already displayed the social 
disposition, and lively graces, which, in every age, have dis- 
guised their vices, and sometimes concealed their intrinsic 
merit. Perhaps Agathias, and the Greeks, were dazzled by 
the rapid progress of their arms, and the s])lendor of tlieir 
empire. Since the conquest of Burgundy, Gaul, except the 
Gothic province of Septimania, was subject, in its whole ex- 
tent, to the sons of Clovis. They had extinguished the 
German kingdom of Thuringia, and their vague dominion 
penetrated beyond the Khine, into the heart of their native 
forests. The Alemanni, and Bavarians, who had occupied 
the Koman provinces of Rhaetia and Noricum, to the south 
of the Danube, confessed themselves the humble vassals of 
the Franks ; and the feeble barrier of the Alps was incapa- 
ble of resisting their ambition. When the last survivor of 
the sons of Clovis united the inheritance and conquests of 
the Merovingians, his kingdom extended far beyond the 
limits of modern France. Yet modern France, such has 
been the progress of arts and policy, far surpasses, in wealth, 
populousness, and power, the spacious but savage realms of 
Clotaire or Dagobert.^^ 

The Franks, or French, are the only people of Europe 

«o The Franks, who probably used the mints of Treves, Lyons, and Aries, im- 
itated the coinage of the Roman emperors of seventy-two soluli, or pieces, to the 
pound of gold. But as the Franks established only a decuple propo- tion of gold 
and silver, ten shillings will be a sufii<!ient valuation of their solidus of gold. It 
was the common standard of the Barbiiric fines, and contained forty (hnarti, or 
silver threepences. Twelve of these denarii made a solidua, or shilling, the 
twentieth part of the ponderal and nunier;il liv7-(', or pound of silver, which ims 
been so strangely reduced in modern France. See La Blauc, Traits liistoiique 
des Monnoves de France, pp. 37-13. 

" Agathias, in tom. ii. p. 47. Gregory of Tours exhibits a very different pic- 
ture. Perhaps it would not be easy, within the same historical space, to lind 
more vice and leas virtue. We are continually shocked by the union of savaga 
and corrupt manners. 

*"'2 M. de Fonceniagne has traced, in a correct and elegant dissertation (Mem. 
de I'Academie, tom. viii. pp. 505-528), the extent and limits of the French raon- 
^rcliy. 



or THE KOMAX EMPIRE. 325 

who can deduce a perpetual succession from the conquerors 
of the Western empire. But their conquest of Gaul was 
followed by ten centuries of anarchy and ignorance. On 
the revival of learning, the students, who had been formed, 
in the schools of Athens and Kome, disdained their Barba- 
rian ancestors; and a long period elapsed before patient 
labor could provide the requisite materials to satisfy, or 
rather to excite, the curiosity of more enlightened times.^'^ 
At length the eye of criticism and philosophy was directed 
to the antiquities of France ; but even philosopliers have 
been tainted by the contagion of prejudice and passion. 
The most extreme and exchisive systems, of tlie personal 
servitude of the Gauls, or of their voluntary and equal alli- 
ance with the Franks, have been rashly conceived, and ob- 
stinately defended ; and the intemperate disputants have 
accused each other of conspiring against the prerogative of 
the crown, the dignity of the nobles, or the freedom of the 
people. Yet the sharp conflict has usefully exercised the 
adverse powers of learning and genius ; and eacli antagonist, 
alternately vanquished and victorious, has extirpated some 
ancient errors, and established some interesting truths. An 
impartial stranger, instructed by their discoveries, their dis- 
putes, and even their faults, may describe, from the same 
original materials, the state of the Roman provincials, Rfter 
Gaul had submitted to the arms and laws of the Merovin- 
gian kings. ^^ 

The rudest, or the most servile, condition of human so- 
ciety, is regulated, however, by some fixed and general rules. 
When Tacitus surveyed the primitive simplicity of the Ger- 
mans, he discovered some permanent maxims, or customs, 
of public and ])rivate life, which were preserved by faithful 
tradition till the introduction of the art of writing, and of 



83 The Abb6 Dubos (Histoire Critique, tom.i. pp. 20-3(5) has truly and agree- 
ably represented the slow progress of these studies; and he observes, that Greg- 
ory of Tours was only onee printed before the year 1560. According to the coni- 
l)laint of lleineccius (Opera, toin. iii. Sylloge, iii. p. 24S, &o..), Germany received 
witli indifference and contempt the codes of Barbaric laws, which were "published 
by Heroldus, Lindenbrogiiis, &c. At present those laws (as far as tliey relate to 
Gauli, the history of Gregory of Tours, and all the monuments of the Merovin- 
gian race, appear in a pure and perfect state in the first four volumes of the His- 
torians of France. 

w In the space of \nboicf] thirty years (1728-1765) this interesting subject has 
b'^en agitated by the free spirit of tlie count de Boulainvilliers 'Memoircs Ilis'o- 
riques sur I'Etat de la France, particularly torn. i. pp. ]r>-4<)) ; the learned ingenu- 
ity ot the Abbe Dubos (Histoire Critique de I'Etablissement de la Monarchie 
Iranvoise dans les Gaules, 2 vols, in 4to.); th • comprehensive genius of tlie pres- 
ident de Montesquieu (Esprit des Loix, particularly 1. xxviii. xxx. xxxi.l; and 
the good sense and diligence of the Abbe de Mably (Observations sur I'Histoire 
de France, 2 vols. 12mo.). 



826 THE DECLIXE AND FALL 

the Latin tonojue.^^ Before the election of the Merovinman 
kings, the most powerful tribe, or nation, of the Franks, ap- 
pointed four venerable chieftains to compose the Salic 
laws ; ^® and their labors were examined and approved in 
three successive assemblies of the people. After the baptism 
of Clovis, he reformed several articles that appeared incom- 
patible with Christianity : the Salic law was again amended 
by his sons ; and at length, under the reign of Dagobert, the 
code was revised and promulgated in its actual form, one 
hundred years after the establishment of the French mon- 
archy. Within the same period, the customs of the liipxia' 
rians were transcribed and published; and Charlemagne 
himself, the legislator of his age and country, had accurate- 
ly studied the Uco national laws, which still prevailed among 
the Franks.^'' The same care was extended to their vassals; 
and the rude institutions of the Alemanni and JBavarians 
were diligently compiled and ratified by the supreme au- 
thority of the Merovingian kings. The Visigoths and JBur- 
gundians^ whose conquests in Gaul preceded those of the 
Franks, showed less impatience to attam one of the princi- 
pal benefits of civilized society. Euric was the first of the 
Gothic princes who expressed, in writing, the manners and 
customs of his people ; and the composition of the Burgua- 
dian laws was a measure of policy rather than of justice ; to 
alleviate the yoke, and regain the affections, of their Gallic 
subjects.^^ Thus, by a singular coincidence, the Germans 

<»5 1 have derived much instruction from two learned works of Heineccius, the 
History snidihe E/einents, ot the Germanic law. In a judicious preface to the 
Elements, he considers, and tries to excuse, the defects of that barbarous juris- 
prudence. 

^ Latin appears to have been the original language of the Salic law. It was 
probably composed in the beginning of the fifth century, before the era(A.D. 
421) of the real or fabulous Pharamoud. The preface mentions the four cantons 
■which produced the four legislators ; and many provinces, Franconia, Saxony, 
Hanover, Brabant, &c., have claimed them as their own. See an excellent Dis- 
sertation of Heineccius, de Lege Salica, tom. iii. Sylloge iii. pp. 247-267* 

6' Eginhard, in Vit. Caroli Magni, c. 29, in tom. v. p 100. By these two laws, 
most critics understand the Salic and the Ripuarian. The former extended from 
the Carbonarian forest to the Loire (tom. iv. p. 151), and the latter might be 
obeyed from the same forest to the Rhine (tom. iv. p. 222). 

<'3 Consult the ancient and modern prefaces of the several codes, in the fourth 
volume of the Historians of France. The original prologue to the Salic law 
expresses (thougli in a foreign dialect) the genuine spirit of the Franks more 
forcibly than the ten books of Gregory of Tours. 

* The relative antiquity of the two copies of the Salic law has been contested 
vrith great learning and ingenuity. The work of 31. Wiarda, History and Ex- 
planation of the Salic Law, Bremen, 1808, asserts, that what is called the Lex 
Antiqua, or Vetustior, in which many German words are mingled with the Latin, 
has no claim to superior antiquity, and mav be suspected to be more modem. 
M. Wiarda has been opposed by M. Fuerbach, who maintains the higher age of 
the "ancient" Code, which has been greatly corrupted bv the transcribers. See 
Guizot. Cours de I'Histoire Moderne, Vf>l i. sect. 9 : and tlie preface to the useful 
republication of live of the different texts of tlie Salic law, with that of theKipu* 
ariaus, in parallel columns. By E. A. 1. Laspeyres, Halle, 1833.— M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 327 

framed their artless institutions, at a tune when the elabo- 
rate system of Roman jurisprudence was finally consumma- 
ted. In the Salic laws, and the Pandects of Justinian, we 
may compare the first rudiments, and the full maturity, of 
civil wisdom ; and whatever prejudices maybe suggested in 
favor of Barbarism, our calmer reflections will ascribe to tlie 
Romans the superior advantages, not only of science and 
reason, but of humanity and justice. Yet the laws * of the 
Barbarians were adapted to their wants and desires, their 
occupations and their capacity; and they all contributed to 
preserve the peace, and promote the improvement, of the 
society for whose use they were originally establislied. The 
Merovingians, mstead of imposing a uniform rule of conduct 
on their various subjects, permitted each people, and each 
family, of their empire, freely to enjoy their domestic insti- 
tutions : ^^ nor were the Romans excluded from the common 
benefits of tins legal toleration."*^ The children embraced 
the laio of their parents, the wife that of her husband, the 
freedman that of his patron ; and in all causes where the 
parties were of different nations, the plaintiff or accuser was 
obliged to follow the tribunal of the defendant, who may 
always plead a judicial presumption of right, or innocence. 
A more ample latitude was allowed, if every citizen, in the 
presence of the judge, might declare the law under which 
he desired to live, and the national society to which he 
chose to belong. Such an indulgence would abolish the 
partial distinctions of victory : and the Roman ])rovincials 
miglit patiently acquiesce in tlie hardships of their condition ; 
since it depended on themselves to assume the privilege, if 
they dared to assert the character, of free and warlike 
Barbarians.'^ 

««' The Ripuarian law declares, and defines, this indulgence in favor of the 
plaintiff (tit xxxi. in torn. iv. p. 240); and the same toleration is understood, or 
expressed, in all the codes, except that ol the Visigoths of Spain, Tanta diver- 
sitas legum (says Agobard in the ninth century) quanla iion solum in regionibus, 
aut civitatibus, sed etiani in multisdomibus habetur. Nam plerumque contingit 
ut simul eant aut sedeant quinque homines, et nullus eorum coninitinem legem 
oum altero habeat (in torn. vi. p. 356). He foolishly pro^wses to introduce a uni- 
formity of law, as well as of faith. t 

'** Inter Romaiios negotia causurum Romanis legibus praecipimus terminari. 
Such are the words of a general constitution promulgnted by C!lotaire, the sou 
oi Clovis, and sole monarch of the Franks (in torn. iv. p. IIG) about the year 5G0. 

" This liberty of choice i has been aptly deduced (Esprit des Loix, I. xxviii. 2) 



* The most complete collection of these codes is the " Barbarorum leges an- 
tiquae," by P. Ca- ciani, 5 vols, folio, Venice, 1781-9.— M. 

t It \s the object of the important work of M. Savigny, Gescliichte des Ro- 
misches Rechts in Mittelalter, to show the perpetuity of the Roman law from the 
6th to tlie 12th century. — M. 

J Gibbon appears to liave doubted the evidence on which this '* liberty of 



328 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

When justice inexorably requires the death of a mnn 
derer, each private citizen is fortified by tlie assurance, that, 
the laws, the magistrate, and the wliole community, are tne. 
guardians of liis ])eryonai safety. But m the loose society 
of the Germans, revenge was always honorable, and often 
meritorious: the independent warrior chastised, or vindi- 
cated, with his own hand, the injuries which he liad offered 
or received ; and he liad only to dread the resentment of 
tlie sons and kinsmen of the enemy, whom lie had sacrificed 
to his selfish or angry passions. The magistrate, conscious 
of his weakness, interposed, not to punisli, but to reconcile ; 
and he was satisfied if lie could persuade or compel the con- 
tending parties to pay and to accejot the moderate fine which 
had been ascertained as the price of blood."- The fierce 
spirit of the Franks would liave opposed a more rigorous 
sentence; the same fierceness despised these ineffectual re- 
straints ; and, when their simple manners had been cor- 
rupted by the Avealth of Gaul, the i)ublic peace w^as continu- 
ally violated by acts of hasty or deliberate guilt. In every 
just government the same penalty is inflicted, or at least is 
imposed, for the murder of a peasant or a prince. But the 
national inequality established by the Franks, in their crimi- 
nal proceedings, was the last insult and abuse of conquest."^* 
In the calm moments of legislation, they solemnly pro- 
nounced, that the life of a Roman was of smaller value than 

from 3 constitntion of Lothaire I.* (Leg. Langobard. 1. ri. tit. Ivii. in Codex Lin- 
deiibrog. p. 6&4);. though the example is too recent and partial. From a various 
reading in the Saiic; law (tit. xliv. not. xlv.) the Abbe de Mjibly (toni. i. pp. 290- 
293) hski conjectured, that, at lir-^t. a hnrbartmi only, and afterwards any man 
(consequently a Konian), might live acconiing to the law of the Franks. Jam 
sorry to offend this ingenious conjecture by observing, that the stricter sense 
{ I'm- bnrnm) is expressed in the reformed copy of Charlemagiie : which is con- 
timied by the Koyal and Wolfeiibuttle MSS. The looser interpretation (/lomhum} 
is authorized only by the MS. of Fulda, from whence Heroldus published his 
edition. See the four original texts of the Salic law in torn. iv. pp. 147, 173, VJ6, 
220. 

■^2 In the heroic times of Greece, the guilt of murder was expiated by a pecti- 
niary satisfaction to the fam.ily of the deceased (Feithius Antiquitat. Homeric- 
L ii. c. 8). Heineccius, in his prefac e to the Elements of Germanic Law, favor- 
ably suggests, that at Rome and Athens homicide was only punished with exile. 
It is true : bat exile was a capital punishment, for a citizen of Tome or Athens. 

" This proportion is lixed by the Salic (tit. xliv. in torn. iv. p. 117) and the 
Ripuarian (tit.vii. xi. xxxvi. in "torn. iv. pn. 2;'7, 2 1) laws: but the latter does 
not distinguish any difference of Rom:ms. Yet the orders of the clergy are 
placed above the Franks themr elves, and the Burgundians and Alemanni be- 
tween the Franks and the Romans. 



choice " rested. His doubts have been confirmed by the researches of Savigny, 
who has not only confuted but traced with convincing sagacity the origin and 
progress of this error. Asa general principle, though liable to some exceptionSjf 
each lived according to his native law. Roinisrhe Recht, vol. i. pp. 123-l.^f*. — M. 

* This constitution of Lothaire at first related only to the duchy of Rome;: it 
afterwards found its way into tho Lombard code. Savigny, p. 138.-1^1. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 329 

tliat of a Barbarian. The Antrustion^'^'^ a name expressive 
of the most illustrious birth or dignity among the Franks^ 
was appreciated at the sum of six hundred pieces of gold; 
while the noble provincial, who was admitted to the king's 
table, might be IcG^ally murdered at the expense of three 
hundred pieces. Two hundred were deemed sufficient for 
a Frank of ordinary condition ; but the meaner Romans 
were exposed to disgrace and danger by a triflmg compensa- 
tion of one hundred, or even fifty, pieces of gold. Had these 
laws been regulated by any princi2->le of equity or reason, 
the public protection should have su])plied, in just propor- 
tion, the Avant of ])ersonal strength. But the legislator liad 
weigiied in the sc^ale, not of justice, but of policy, th^loss of 
a soldier against that of a slave : the head of an insolent and 
rapacious Barbarian was guarded by a lieavy fine ; and the 
slightest aid was afforded to the most defenceless subjects. 
Time insensibly abated the pride of the conquerors and the 
j^atience of the vanquished ; nnd the boldest citizen was 
taught, by experience, that he might suffer more injuries 
than he could inflict. As the manners of the Franks be- 
came less ferocious, their laAvs were rendered more severe ; 
and the Merovingian kings attempted to imitate the impar- 
tial riscor of the Visiijoths and Buro-undians.'^ Under the 
emyjire of Charlemagne, murder was universally punished 
with death ; and the use of capital punishments has been 
liberally multiplied in the jurisprudence of modern Europe."^^ 
The civil and military professions, which Iiad been sepa- 
rated by Constantine, were again united by the Barbarians. 
The harsh sound of the Teutonic appellations was mollified 
into the Latin titles of Duke, of Count, or of Pnefect ; and 
the same officer assumed, within his district, the command 
of the troops, and the adminstration of justice.'^ But the 

'■* The Antrnstlonex, qui in truftte Domiuicd sunf, /c^^z/t./fVc^/cs, undoubtedly 
represent the first order of Franks ; hut it is a, question whether tlieii- rank was 
personal or hereditary. The Abbe do IVIably (toin. i. pp. ,134-347) is not displeased 
to mortify the pride of birth (Esprit, 1. xxx. c. 2.")) by dating the origin of French 
nobility from the reign of Clotaiie 11. (A. D. G15). 

'5 See the Bnrgundian laws (tit. ii. in torn. iv. p. 257), the code of the Visigoths 
(1. vi. tit. V. in toni. iv. ]). 384), and the constitution of Cliiidebert, not of Paris, 
b;it most eA'idently of Austrasia (in torn. iv. j). 112). Their premature t^everity 
was s metimcs rash, and excessive. Childebcrt condemned not only murderers 
bit robbers ; quomodo sine lege involavit, sine lege moriatur ; antl even the neg- 
ligent judge was involved in the same sentence. The Visigoths abandoned an 
unsuccessful surgeon to the family of his deceased patient, ut quod do eo facere 
Yoluerint habcant potestatem (1. xi. tit. i. in toni. iv. p. 435). 

'''^ See, in the sixth volume of the works of Ileineccius, the Elementa Jurif? 
Germanici, 1. ii. p. 2, No. 2'W, 20'?, 280-2^3. Yet some vestiges of these pecuniary 
compositions for murder have been traced in Germany as late as the sixteenth 
centurv. 

V7 The whole subject of the Germanic judges, and their jurisdiction, is coy'i- 
ously treated by Ileineccius (Element, dur. Genu, b iii, iTo. 1-72). X cannot iind 



330 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

fierce and illiterate chieftain was seldom qualified to dis- 
charge the duties of a judge, which required all the faculties 
of a jjhilosophic mind, laboriously cultivated by experience 
and study; and his rude ignorance was compelled to em- 
brace some simple, and visible, methods of ascertainmg the 
cause of justice. In every religion, the Deity has been in- 
voked to confirm the truth, or to punish the falsehood, of 
human testimony; but this powerful instrument was mis- 
applied and abused by the simplicity of the German legis- 
lators. The party accused might justify his innocence, by 
producing before their tribunal a number of friendly wit- 
nesses, who solemnly declared their belief, or assurance, that 
he ^vas tiot guilty. According to the weight of the charge, 
this legal number of cow pur gators was multij^lied ; seventy- 
two A'oices were required to absolve an incendiary or assas- 
sin : and when the chastity of a queen of France was sus- 
pected, three hundred gallant nobles swore, without hesita- 
tion, that the infant prince had been actually begotten by 
her deceased husband.'^** The sin and scandal of manifest 
and frequent perjuries engaged the magistrates to remove 
these dangerous temptations ; and to supply the defects of 
human testimony by the famous experiments of fire and 
water. These extraordinary trials were so capi'iciously con- 
trived, that, in some cases, guilt, and innocence in others, 
could not be proved without the interposition of a miracle. 
Such miracles were readily provided by fraud and credulity ; 
the most intricate causes were determined by tliis easy and 
infallible method, and the turbulent Barbarians, who might 
have disdained the sentence of the magistrate, submissively 
acquiesced in the judgment of God.'^^ 

But the trials by single combat gradually obtained supe- 
rior credit and authority, among a warlike people, Avho could 
not believe that a brave man deserved to suffer, or that a 

any proof that under the Merovingian race, the scabini, or assessors, were chosen 
by the people.* 

^^ Gregor. Taron. 1. viii. c. 9, in torn. ii. p. 316. Montesquieu observes (Esprit 
desLoix, 1. xxviii. c. 13), that the Salic law did not admit these ner/aiive proofs 
so universally established in the Barbaric codes. Yet this obscure concubine 
(Fredegundis), who became the wife of the grandson of Clovis, must have fol- 
lowed the Salic law. 

■'■' Muralori, in the Antiquities of Italy, lias given two Dissertations (xxxvii. 
xxxix.) on the jmhiments of (ind. It was expected that. /frf would not burn the 
innocent ; and that the pure element of water would not allow the guilty to sink 
into its bosom. 



* The question of the scabini is treated at oojisiderable length by Savigny. 
He questions the existence of the scabini anterior to Charlemagne. Before this 
time the de<"isiou was by an open court of the freemen, the boni homines. Ro- 
mische llecht, vol. i. p. i95, et seq.— M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 331 

coward deserved to live.^° Both in civil and criminal pro- 
ceedings, the plaintiff, or accuser, the defendant, or even the 
witness, were exposed to mortal challenge from the antago- 
nist who was destitute of legal proofs ; and it was incumbent 
on them either to desert their cause, or publicly to maintain 
their honor, in the lists of battle. They fought either on 
foot, or on horseback, according to the custom of their na- 
tion ; ^^ and the decision of the sword, or lance, was ratified 
by the sanction of Heaven, of the judge, and of the people. 
This sanguinary law was introduced into Gaul by the Bur- 
gundians ; and their legislator Gundobald ^^ condescended to 
answer the complaints and objections of his subject Avitus. 
*' Is it not true," said the king of Burgundy to the bishop, 
*' that the event of national wars, and ])rivate combats, is 
directed by the judgment of God ; and that his providence 
awards the victory to the juster cause?" By such prevail- 
ing arguments, the absurd and cruel practice of judicial 
duels, which had been peculiar to some tribes of Germany, 
was propagated and established in all the monarchies of 
Europe, from Sicily to the Baltic. At the end of ten cen- 
turies, the reign of legal violence was not totally extin- 
guished ; and the ineffectual censures of saints, of popes, 
and of synods, may seem to prove, that the influence of 
superstition is weakened by its unnatural alliance Avith rea- 
son and humanity. The tribunals were stained with the 
blood, perhaps, of innocent and respectable citizens ; the 
law which now favors the rich, then yielded to the strong'; 
and the old, the feeble, and the infirm, were condemned, 
either to renounce their fairest claims and possessions, to 
sustain the dangers of an unequal conflict,^^ or to trust the 
doubtful aid of a mercenary champion. This oppressive 

^ Montesquieu (Esprit des Loix, 1. xxviii. c. 17) has condescended to explain 
and excuse " la nianiere de penser de nos p6res," on the subject of judicial com- 
bats. He follows this strange institution from the a^e of (iundobald to that of 
St. Lewis ; and the philosopher is sometimes lost in the legal antiquarian. 

«i In a memorable duel at Aix-la-Chapelle (A. D. 820), before the emperor 
Lewis the Pious, his biographer observes, secundum le^em propriam, utpote 
quia uterque Gothus erat, eqiiestri pugna congressus est (Vit. Lud. Pii. c. 33, m 
torn. vi. p. 103). Ermoldas Nigellus (1. iii. 543-6l'X, in torn. vi. pp. 48-50), who de- 
scribes the duel, admires the a?-s nova of fighting on horseback, which was 
unknown to the Franks. 

82 In his original edict, published at Lyons (A. D. 501), Gundobald establishes 
and justifies the use of judicial combat). Leg. Burgund. tit. xlv. in torn. ii. pp. 
267, 268). Three hundred years afterwards, Agobard, bishop of Lyons, solicited 
Lewis the Pious to abolish the law of an Arian tyrant (in tom. vi. pp. 350-358). 
He relates the conver.-ation of Gundobald and Avitus. 

8^ "Accidit (says Agobard), ut nou solum valentes viribus, sed etiam infirmi et 
senes lacessantur ad pugnam, etiam pro vilissimi.s rebus. Quibus foralibus cer- 
taminibus contingunt homicidia injusla , et crudeles ac perversi eventus judici- 
orum. Like a prudent rhetorician, he suppresses the legal privilege of hiring 
champions. 



832 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

jurisprudence was imposed on the provincials of Gaul, who 
complained of any injuries in their persons and property. 
Whatever might be the strengtli, or courage, of individuals, 
tlie victorious Barbarians excelled in the love and exercise 
of arms;'- and the vanquished Roman was unjustly sum- 
moned to repeat, in his own person, the bloody contest 
which had been already decided against his country,-'* 

A devouring host of one hundred and twenty thousand 
Germans had formerly passed the Rliine under the command 
of Ariovistus. One third part of the fertile lands of the 
Sequani was appropriated to their use ; and the conqueror 
soon repeated his oppressive demand of another third, for 
the accommodation of a new colony of twenty-four thousand 
Barbarians, whom he had invited to share tlie rich harvest 
of Gaul.^^ At the distance of five hundred years, the Visi- 
goths and Burgundians, who revenged the defeat of Ario- 
vistus, usurped the same unequal proportion of tico-thirds of 
the subject lands.. But this distribution, instead of spread- 
ing over the province, may be reasonably confined to the 
peculiar districts where the victorious people had been 
planted by their own choice, or by the policy of their leader. 
In these districts, each Barbarian was connected by the ties 
of hospitality with some Roman provincial. To this unwel- 
come guest, the proprietor was compelled to abandon two- 
thirds of his patrimony ; but the German, a shepherd and a 
hunter, might sometimes content himself with a spacious 
range of wood and pasture, and resign the smallest, though 
most valuable, portion, to the toil of the industrious hus- 
bandman.^® The silence of ancient and authentic testimony 
has encouraged an opinion, that the rapine of the Franks 
was not moderated, or disguised, by the forms of a legal 
division ; that they dispersed themselves over the provinces 
of Gaul, without order or control ; and that each victorious 

*»< Montesquieu (Esprit des I^oix, xxviii. c. 14), who understands why the judi- 
cial combat was admitted by the BurgundiaJis, Kipuarians, Alemanni, Bavarians. 
Lombards. Thuringians, Frisons, and Saxons, is satisfied (and Agobard seems to 
countenance the assertion) that it was not allowed by the Salic law. Yet the 
same custom, at least in case of treason, is mentioned by Ermoldus, Nigelhis 
(1. iii. ."343, in torn, vi. p. 48), and the anonymous biographer of Lewis the Pioiis 
(c. 46, in torn. vi. p. 112'*, as the " mos antiquus Francorum, more Francis solito," 
&c., expressions too general to exclude the noblest of their tribes. 

^ Caesar de Bell. Gall. 1. i, c. 31, in torn. i. p. 213. 

86 The obscure hints of a division of lands occa^^ionally scattered in the laws 
of the Burgundians (tit. liv. No. 1, 2, m tom. iv. pp. 271. 272), and Visigoths (1. z.. 
tit. 1. No. 8, 0, 10, in tom. iv. pp. 428. 42it, 430), are skilfully explained by the pres- 
ident Montesquieu (Esprit des Loix, 1. xxx. c. 7, 8, 9). I sliall only add, that, 
among tlie Goths, the division seems to have been ascertained by the judgment 
of the neigliborliood ; that the Barbarians frequently usurped the remaining 
third, and that the Romans might recover their right, unless they were barred 
Ijy a prescription of tif ty years. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 333 

robber, according to liis wants, liis avarice, and liis strength, 
measured witli liis sword tlie extent of liis new inheritance. 
At a distance from their sovereign, the Barbai-ians might 
indeed be tempted to exercise such arbitrary depredation ; 
but the firm and artful policy of Clovis must curb a licen- 
tious spirit, which would aggravate the misery of the van- 
quished, whilst it corrupted the union and discipline of the 
conquerors.* The memorable vase of Soissons is a monu- 
ment and a pledge of the reguLar distribution of the Gallic 
spoils. It was the duty and the interest of Clovis to provide 
revv^ards for a successful army, and settlements for a numer- 
ous people; without inflicting any wanton or superfluous 
injuries on the loyal Catholics of Gaul. The amj^le fund, 
which he might lawfully acquire, of the Imperial patrimony, 
vacant lands^ and Gothic usurpations, would diminish the 
cruel necessity of seizure and confiscation, and the luimble 
provincials would more patiently acquiesce in the equal and 
regular distribution of their loss.''"' 

The wealth of the Merovingian princes consisted in their 
extensive domain. After the conquest of Gaul, they still 
delighted in the rustic simplicity of their ancestors , the 
cities were abandoned to solitude and decay ; and their 
coins, their charters, and their synods, are still inscribed 
with the names of the villas, or rural palaces, in which they 
successively resided, On*e hundred and sixty of these 
palaces^ a title which need not excite any unreasonable ideas 
of art or luxury, were scattered through the provinces of 
their kingdom; and if some might claim the honors of a 
fortress, the far greater part could be esteemed only in the 

87 It is lingular enough that the president de Montesquieu (Esprit des Loix, 1. 
XXX. c. 7) and the Abbe de Mably (Observalions, torn, i pp 21, 22) agree in this 
strange supposition of arbitrary and private rapine. The Count de Boulamvil- 
liers (Etat de la France, torn, i pp. 22, 23) shows a strong understanding through 
a cloud of ignorance and prejudice.! 



* Sismondi (Hist des Fran^ais, vol i. p. 197) observes, that the Franks were 
not a conquering people, who had emigrated with their families, like the Goths 
or Burgundians. The women, the children, the old, had not followed Clovis, 
they remained in their ancient possessions on the Waal and the Rhine 'Jhe 
adventurers alone had formed the invading force, and they always considered 
themselves as an army, not as a colony Hence their laws retained no traces of 
the partition of the Roman properties. It is curious to observe the recoil from 
the national vanity of the French historians of the last century. M. Sismondi 
compares the position of the Franks with reganl to the conquered people with 
that of the I)ey of Aleiers and his corsair troops to the peaceful inhabitants of 
that province •. M Thierry (Lettres sur I'Histoire de France, p. 117) with that of 
the Turks towards the Raias or Phanariotes, the mass of the Greeks.— M. 

t Sismondi supposes that the Barbarians, if a farm were conveniently situ- 
ated, would show no great respect for the laws of property ; but in general there 
won] 1 have been vacaiU; land enough for the lota asbigued to old worn-out war- 
riors (Hibt. des Frau^ais. vol. i. p. 196).— M. 



334 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

light of profitable farms. The mansion of the long-haired 
kings was surrounded with convenient yards and stables, for 
the cattle and the poultry ; the garden was planted with 
useful vegetables f the various trades, the labors of agricul- 
ture, and even the arts of hunting and fishing, were exer- 
cised by servile hands for the emolument of the sovereign ; 
his magazines were filled with corn and wine, either for sale 
or consumption ; and the whole administration was con- 
ducted by the strictest maxims of private economy.^^ This 
ample patrimony was appropriated to supply the hospitable 
plenty of Clovis and his successors ; and to reward the 
fidelity of their brave companions, who, both in peace and 
war, were devoted to their personal service. Instead of a 
horse, or a suit of armor, each companion, according to 
his rank, or merit, or favor, was invested with a benefice^ 
the primitive name, and most simple form, of the feudal 
possessions. These gifts might be resumed at the pleasure 
of the sovereign ;. and his feeble prerogative derived some 
support from the influence of his liberality."* But this de- 
pendent tenure was gradually abolished ^^ by the indepen- 
dent and rapacious nobles of France, who established the 
])erpetual property, and hereditary succession, of their bene- 
fices ; a revolution salutary to the earth, which had been 
injured, or neglected, by its precarious masters.^^ Besides 
these royal and beneficiary estates, a large proportion had 
been assigned, in the division of Gaul, of allodial and Salic 
lands ; they were exempt from tribute, and the Salic lands 
were equally shared among the male descendants of the 
Franks.^^ 

88 See the rustic edict, or rather code, of Charlemagne, which contains seventy 
distinct and minute regulations of that great monarch (in torn. v. pp. 652-657). 
He requires an account of the horns and skins of the goats, allows his tish to be 
sold, and carefully directs, that the larger villas {('apifanece) shall maintain one 
hundred hens and thirty geese ; and the smaller (Manaionales) fifty hens and 
twelve geese. Mabillon (de Re Diplomatica) has investigated the names, the 
immber, and the situation of the Merovingian villas. 

"y From a passage of the Burgundian law (tit. i. No. 4, in tom. iv. p. 257) it is 
evident, that a deserving son might expect to hold the lands which his father 
had received from the royal bounty of Gundobald. The Burgundians would 
firmly maintain their privilege, and their example might encourage the Benefi- 
ciaries of France. 

y" The revolutions of the benefices and fiefs are clearly fixed by the Abbe de 
Mably. His accurate distinction of times gives him a merit to which even Mon- 
tesquieu is a stranger. 

»i See the Salic law (tit. Ixii. in tom. iv. p. 1.56). The origin and nature of 



* The resumption of benefices at the pleasure of the sovereign (the general 
theory down to his time), is ably contested by Mr. Hallam ; " for this resumption 
some delinquency must be imputed to the vassal." Middle Ages, vol. i. p. 162. 
The reader will be interested by the singular analogies with the beneficial and 
feudal system of Europe in a remote part of the world, indicated by Col Tod ia 
his splendid work on liaja'sthau, vol. i. c. i. p. 129, &c.— M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 335 

In the bloody discord and silent decay of the Merovin- 
gian line, a new order of tyrants arose in the provinces, 
who, under the appellation of Seniors^ or Lords, usurped a 
right to govern, and a license to opjiress, the subjects of 
their peculiar territory. Their ambition might be checked 
by the hostile resistance of an equal : but the laws were ^ex- 
tinguished; and the sacrilegious Barbarians, who dared to 
provoke the vengeance of a saint or bishop,^-^ would seldom 
respect the landmarks of a profane and defenceless neighbor. 
Tlie common or public rights of nature, such as they had 
always been deemed by the Roman jurisprudence,^^ were 
severely restrained by the German conquerors, Avhose 
amusement, or rather passion, was the exercise of hunting. 
The vamie dominion which Man has assumed over the wild 
inhabitants of the earth, the air, and the waters, was confined 
to some fortunate indiv